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Right in Front of Your Face

Elitism still is the big divide. It’s the biggest obstacle facing games today. Elitism is the belief that some individuals, who form an elite — a select group of people with intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views are the only ones that matter.

We are that elite.

Many of my friends resented when Nintendo positioned itself as a beacon to attract non-gamers (including some of my non-gamer friends, interestingly enough). Now, after piling them with shovelware for years, we see our dusted Wiis and state “The Wii Is Dead” in a dismissive tone that implies “See, we were right all along. You shouldn’t have abandoned us. We are the ones that get it, not them”.

Because (OMG!) gaming is art. And we are (obviously) the only ones who can see it.
Some pieces of art are difficult to understand or appreciate. That’s why the elite is the elite; and have Bach playing on the background as they discuss the peasant situation. The thing is that while there is only schooling and experience in the way of turning the Average Joe into H. E. Pennypacker, for gaming there is also the issue of skill. How can grandpa even start to appreciate games when just comprehending the controls is bound to take more spasmodic accidents than his patience and time could afford?

Yes, folks, this is my Omnitopic entry!

No matter how unapproachable a book or a movie may be, one can always get through it. The same is not true for gaming, as the skills it requires are primarily related to manual dexterity – which is not a trivial thing to acquire. It’s mostly an aptitude after all. Gaming is built on progression and not matter whether this progression if linear or open ended, the plot is not. One cannot skip to world 8-8 if one cannot even pass world 1-1 (and the first warp zone is hidden in the world 1-2, mind you). This is troublesome. It’s like buying a movie without knowing how to read it.

I find this unfair, especially now games are maturing into a narrative driven medium. Read the rest of this entry

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Final Fantasy XIV Trailer from TGS 2010: Orgy of Wow

Setting aside personal opinions regarding the last handful of titles in the Final Fantasy series as well as the direction the series has taken since the Square-Enix merger, I boldly endorse Final Fantasy XIV.  The second incarnation of an FFMMO is upon us. And god damn, if the opening cinematic doesn’t make the Final Fantasy girl inside you scream with delight, there may be something clinically wrong with you.

The typical fruity colours and lame-looking character models of FFXIII, XII, and X are gone, featuring instead a much more medieval style art direction. Gone as well are the gimmicky features of recent characters. In other words, Final Fantasy has finally grown up.

Here’s to hoping this kind of art direction to take precedence in the next single player title in the franchise.

The game will be out at the end of this month exclusively for PS3 and PC.

Fat Princess Credits & DLC Thoughts

Today, I indulged myself with Fat Princess–courtesy of the PSN ‘summer sale,’ which priced the game at a delectable 7 dollars. Who can pass up a deal like that? Certainly not me.

It’s insane to think that right now, I’m looking forward to just as many downloadable titles as I am disc-based content. Before this, there was Limbo, and Blacklight. Looking forward there’s still Monday Night Combat, Shank, Scott Pilgrim, Super Meat Boy, Closure, Journey, Street Fighter III 3rd Strike online…and these are just the ones that come to mind. This isn’t something I would have been able to predict a year ago.

I’m probably in the minority but, I don’t mind having no physical representation of my games anymore. It’s nice to not have to worry about disc scratching, boxes, where to put things. With how much I travel between school and home, honestly, it’s a godsend–I’ve come to hate air travel precisely because it forces me to carry around so much. So, having everything saved to my hard drive is fantastic. No having to wade through dozens upon dozens of discs or boxes to find that one game I’m looking for, either. And, if something is worth owning, it’s probably the Collector’s Edition–which I’m not buying because I get a CD inasmuch as buying for craftsmanship exclusive to the CE, as well as extra trinkets. Lastly, I’m not the type of person to showcase my titles on a shelf, either–it’s too prideful for the wrong reasons for my taste.

And to think I was such a big advocate for discs not that long ago…

Anyway, I’ve been having a grand time with Fat Princess so far–the only reason I’m not playing right now only because my controller ran out of batteries, so I have to charge it. Prior to that, though, I came across the credits in the menu under ‘Who’s Your Daddy?’ , which you can watch here:

Call me easily amused, but I think that Fat Princess has most clever credits I’ve ever seen. You become death itself, like you do when you win a round online, and you get to kill the avatars of the developers! Favorite part: getting to chop CliffyB’s head off with my scythe. And the only reason I noticed he’s credited at all is because the credits had such a great framework–usually, I’m the type of person that tunes out for that type of stuff. Who wants to read a never-ending list of names for five minutes?

So far, my 7 dollar purchase has been worth it.

Sony Patents 3D Screensharing

3D is here to stay, yes, and maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Y’see, what this Sony patent promises is local co-op play which allows a player to use the entire screen without obscuring the view of other players. With this, you can say goodbye to a screen parted 4 ways–a is a terrible thing to experience even on 50 inch TVs.

How does it work? “Technically, as the stereoscopic 3D system used by Sony televisions use glasses with “shutters” synchronized with the television, blocking out half the frames for one eye and half the frames for the other, you can instead set the glasses to shut out half the frames completely, allowing the “missed” frames to show a completely different image to another set of glasses synchronized to those frames.”

You can read the patent in full, here.

The Friday Post: Time to Do the Ham Song!

Hit it, Bachelor Bob Bachelor!

Now that that’s out of the way, I bet you want some ham. Not just ham, but bacon, chicken smothered in cheese, and a nice, vibrant wine, perhaps from Spain.

How was your week, gentle reader? I bet it had a certain amount of E3 involved. I know mine did. We posted a hell of a lot of things about E3 and all the wonders contained within, and around the net, other folks did, too. We’ve collected and collated some of them here, for your viewing pleasure on this Friday, different from other Fridays in some ways, but the same in other, more important ways ways.

Though Jesus, go get some bacon. You look like you could eat a whole pig, uncooked. And we’ve only got links, most of them about video games:
-Let’s see, who posted what. Patricia made every post ever. One a complicated bit of cultural analysis on making your own characters, which had nothing to do with E3, and then one on HUDs, which was, in fact, E3 related. And a third of many about accessibility and technology, to go along with about a million other posts on every video game ever. She makes the rest of us look lazy, and for good reason. I’m awfully lazy, at least.
-Fern unlocked an achievement by reviewing a game we’d already posted a review of. Entirely at odds with our first review, too. His bloggerscore is happy, though. He also posted about soccer, because he is of Brazil, and everyone there must care about Brazil. Except, you know, him.
-Graham responded to the upcoming swell of 2-D platformers with a post about them! A good thing, this revival, and he seems to agree, so long as Nintendo keeps up its magic.
Read the rest of this entry

Sony still hasn’t discovered Brazil

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Officially, Brazil was discovered by the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500. 509 years later and Sony finally did the same, or so it seemed. Executives from Sony do Brasil declared on April 14th that the Playstation 3 will finally be officially launched on Brazilian shores until the end of the semester (we are almost there, then) – but no other details were given.

Sony received some snide comments back in 2009 for launching the Playstation 2 in Brazil. Sony itself might have felt embarrassed to release such an old piece of technology as there was no fanfare or special announcements: on November 18th, 2009, the PS2 console, some PS2 and even PS3 games simply started appearing on a bigger number of Brazilian stores.

PSP? Nobody cares apparently.

The cynical reaction of Brazilian gamers is easy to understand. We do not live in the past. If you want a PS3 here, you’ll have to import one – add the exchange rate and a bucket full of taxes and the result is that Brazilians have to pay almost 4 times of what is an already expensive price. Myself, I rely on either my foreign friends or the occasional Brazilian friend that travels to US. Others rely on pirated games. Condemning piracy in Brazil is as easy as it is hypocritical; because the fact remains that there is a repressed demand in here.

However, Sony doesn’t deserve cynicism for launching the PS2. In fact, launching past-gen consoles is almost always a good thing. Read the rest of this entry