Arbalon / Member

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Arbalon Blog

Why video games are important.

Video games have been around for over 40 years, whether it be small blips on a screen, or two paddles exchanging returns with a single dot, video games have always been specifically about one thing... entertainment.

I am preaching to the choir on an epic level by adding that, but entertainment is not always the core quality of a video game anymore. There was a time when video games were sheerly meant for keeping the kids happy, or giving people something to do with their spare time, nothing more... pure entertainment, like a game of Tennis.

When playing Tennis, in most cases there is nothing emotional about it, maybe there is the anger that is created from defeat, or the "joy" that is created from victory in a match... but overall, playing a game of Tennis, basketball, football, etc. is purely for the sake of both sport and enjoyment. 

Then there is the film industry. They have been the main-storytellers for a long time now, but that is starting to change. It wasn't all that long ago that you had to read a book to get any kind of impacting story, rather than watch television or play a game. Once the film industry rose up to the top, they became the main entertainers, and the television industry along with it. People were making movies about books, and books about movies... games were nowhere in the mix. Back then, I'm sure making a game meaningful, was like trying to morph Baseball into Shakespeare. 

If you really want to go back a ways, music was one of the most common forms of storytelling besides literature, writing operas involved a lot of storytelling, and there are entire stories that have been taken from operas and vice versa. 

In this new age and era, video games are not always created for "entertainment purposes". Writers can communicate to us through these interactive experiences in a way that no other form of entertainment can. We can literally feel what the character feels, because do a degree we are the character... It makes us a point of interest, makes us the one affecting and being affected by things. 

Although there are still games that are only meant to entertain, there are also so much more video games that try to make contact with us, hit us in places we never thought possible, make us feel things that most films cannot, because we are not there, we are not literally IN the action.

Many people face hardships throughout life, and the workplace can be rather special. The average Joe/Jane will definitely begin to feel very unimportant after working in a habitat where no one is particularly "special". A lot of people just work their hours to pay the bills, and live their lives without the slightest feeling of importantance. I mean, if you work in a small cubicle for 8-10 hours a day, and pass away prematurely, you'll just be replaced. Sure you may have family members that'll mourn, but overall - unless you're someone famous - the odds are you're just another face in the crowd, slowly trudging through life, just trying to make it by.

That is where video games come in. When played responsibly, they can really make us feel like an important part of the world we are in. We are not usually "just another unit" or "another face"... games usually put us in a position of great importance. We can be the biggest and greatest, and the most wanted to our enemies. We can be cared for, and protected, but also endangered by the many enemies that have an unwavering desire to destroy us, to prevent us from accomplishing what only WE can accomplish.

Maybe we can think of games such as Fallout or Skyrim... we are placed in a world that we alone can bend, we can shape the societies and lives of the people throughout the lands.. Maybe we are more interested in games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield, fighting for a cause, outsmarting the enemy, one battle at a time, or maybe even games like Heavy Rain or Red Dead Redemption, where we are very human and mortal, fragile and stoppable, but it is something like family that pushes us on to fight the next fight. We are responsible for the people who are in danger, and we will stop at nothing until they are safe. 

The odds are, most of us will never end up in situations such as these, which is actually a good thing, but living these experiences virtually, lets us experience what we would otherwise never experience. Extreme dangers, exhilirating adventures, and thrilling suspenses plunge us into other worlds. Worlds we would have created as children playing outside, or perhaps worlds as adults that we would have wrote about.

Claiming responsibilites, being given immense power, and becoming the person of interest... All the unlikely things instantaneously become possible with the gaming industry. We do not witness a storyline unfold, we are there when it unfolds.. we are what unfolds. 

Its a very special kind of storytelling that cannot be done any other way, and it is a way for us to feel important and/ or independent in all the things we do. 

In my childhood, and in the present... I enjoy video games because they let me experience new things, see new sights, explore new worlds, fight new battles, and discover new purposes. Sure it may seem a bit crude - the way we control everything with a controller (In most cases) and power up a system to get things started - but behind the controls and puppetstrings is an infinite amount of new realities for us to dive into. 

That is why I think video games are and can be an important part of society, not because of the fact that they're entertaining (which they are) but because of the fact that they make us important, even when we feel unimportant.

Thank you for reading this, and any feedback or responses of anykind would be appreciated.

Long live the Fusers.

-ARBALON

 

M for Maturity.

I'm sure nearly everyone is aware of the claims that politicians from Connecticut, California, etc have been making, I've spent time reading comments that you the fusers have been posting on what would appear to be articles of "absolutely outrageous behaviour" from our leaders.

I am sure these claims will not end today, there will be many more to come, just like there were many in the past when it came to Television and Games. The politicians began by opposing mature and violent games, now some of them appear to oppose the gaming community. This is rather unfortunate, and raises a lot of questions. What kind of people do they think we are? Do they think we just allow our kids to play Mature games? Who are they to judge? Isn't this the land of the free?

All of those questions would be valid, video games have caused problems before.

A few years ago a guy was so addicted to Halo 3, that when his parents took it away from him for his own good, he killed his mother and wounded his father with a gun, he now faces life in prison. Years before that, a kid was addicted to TrueCrime, played it for a long time, then after a long while.. he snapped, tried to kill some policemen who ultimately shot him down.

But.. these are not evidence enough to prove that games make us all dangerous. Sure there is the irritation of losing, sometimes people do fight over games. I knew a kid that would get in fist fights with his sister over losing or winning Soul Calibur II.

Games have ratings for a reason though, and there are plenty of parents that barely even have an awareness of the kind of games their children play. Of course there are plenty who do as well. There is a reason that there are games rated E for Everyone, maybe these seem "Lame" or "Boring" to some, but if its the only kind of games your kids know, then they're great to them.

We want our kids to have fun, and enjoy themselves, that is the purpose of most games.. some are more artistic, some are for the experience, some are for a story.. but in the end it is a passtime, and it is something that we enjoy.

It would be unintelligent for them to claim that Paintball and Airsoft was something causing violence, let alone virtual reality. Now there are some very VERY brutal games out there, some of us enjoy them, some of us don't, that is just how being in a gaming community works.. We all have our own preferences.

Ever since we were kids... before we even were fans of video games.. Think back to a time where you did not play many video games (if any).. In most cases when you put some boys in a schoolyard, or out in the backyard, or let them play outside.. The stick they find becomes a club, or a gun. For girls, hey, maybe they did that sometimes.. I was used to the girls thinking we were idiots hitting each other with sticks, they're smarter than that. But in the end, my point is, Violence has unfortunately, always made it's way into this world, far before digital entertainment, far before television...

They are right to a degree... there weren't mass murders at elementary school in the olden days.. there was just World Wars.

It is alright for us to be upset, with politicians assuming that we are irresponsible people who are angered easily, and are potentially hostile.. That we have no business having an opinion about violent video games because we play them, if anything that SHOULD give us an opinion, and prevent them from having one.

The odds are that the pictures of them holding games such as Red Dead Redemption/Assassin's Creed II/and GTA IV are pictures of the first time they've ever even laid hands on these games. They have a newer found obsession with getting rid of these things, because they have been condemned by the NRA, who they don't usually agree with anyways.

It is something to blame... a way of revenge for the deaths of those innocent, beautiful children. Those children deserve justice, not vengeance. Further tainting our constitutional rights to prevent future violence will not be a fruitful course of action.

Enough blood has been spilled without video game violence... We are people who decide what WE wish to do, with the things WE have been given... We will decide what our children play, not the government. We will decide what we purchase, not the government.. and We the people will decide what we know to be right and wrong.. We are not incompetent, We have a voice.

So do not be angered over the things that these politicians say, we are better than that.. Do not give them the satisfaction of a severe reaction to these false claims.

The only thing we SHOULD do.. is just think twice about what we let our children play. Live on, and be respectful, and mature about it.. If we are going to play games that are rated M for Mature.. then that is what we should be... M... For mature.

Thank you for reading.. You all have a fine day.

Unseduced.

I will not write much into this Blog except for this..

Over the course of the last few days a game known has "Seduce Me" has went up the ladder (to 2nd place even) in the top ten games.. I'm sure most of you are aware of this.. my only question, is how?

Until a few days ago, I didn't know this game existed, it just came out of nowhere without warning, Fuse is suggesting it as a game I follow, advertises it as "what's hot" and ultimately has it in 3rd place today in the top ten games.

All I know, is I hope there is some news coming soon that will explain this phenomenon, because for a game this random to come up above Far Cry 3 and Halo 4, etc. THERE BETTER BE A REASON.

I'M NOT TURNED ON!

How about you? What do you think? haha

Favourite Video Game Character?

For a long while there have been defined characters in video games.. whether that be the trio in Golden Axe, the Italian Plumber we all know so well, or a swashbuckling, gem loving elf. There are thousands and thousands of characters that have been created throughout the course of video game history.

Before, video games were more about what the character looked like, and less about who the character was.. Now adays, characters have in-depth stories that can help us like or relate to them. Perhaps, we admire what the character stands for, or perhaps we like how evil the character is.. Hero or Villian, a character is a character... if you must, you can name both your favourite hero/anti-hero and villian.

Also, why do you like this character? What is fascinating about this character? What kind of things did this character do to make you choose them? Maybe, how do you relate to the character? As long as you give some reason why you have chosen that character as your favourite, it doesn't matter how you go about explaining it.

Now, I am not a fan of villians, usually I enjoy being able to dispose of them in anyway possible. But if I were to like a video game villian, it'd likely be either Cryptosporidium 137 (from Destroy all Humans) or Jango Fett in the game (Bounty Hunter). Only because I've been a huge fan of Boba Fett since I was a little kid.

My favourite overall Character though.. is Wander from Shadow of the Colossus, he is a guy of few words, and many actions. One who is willing to sacrifice everything to save the girl he loves, even though he faces what would seem the most impossible of challenges.. even when it eats away at him, he does not stop, and will not stop until she is brought back.

Looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with. .' )

Thanks for reading.

Competitive or Cooperative?

One of the earliest recognizeable games was "Pong" a virtual game of ping pong, later came games like "Warlords" and then "Contra" so on so forth..

Games for many years now have been about competition or teamwork, both have their benefits and their downfalls.. But when it comes to games in general that have a "multi-player" option, woud you rather be the last man standing, or a teamplayer.

A simple answer would be that you like Team Deathmatch.. which is both at once, that'd be a valid answer as well, but digging deeper into the co-operative of lets say LittleBigPlanet and the competitiveness of a game like Call of Duty or Battlefield, I'd like to know what kind you prefer. Do you like facing a challenge or toughing out a story with friends or fellow players? Or would you rather annhilate the masses in the attempt to rise to the top?

Also, if you can, try to use an example.. like which game's competitive/cooperative style supports your opinion. (For Example. "I prefer co-operative because back in the days of Conflict: Desert Storm II, that had to be one of the best times I've had playing a game" or "Mortal Kombat has to be one of the most enjoyable games to play against friends, watching fatalities was just classic, and gratifying if I was the victor."

Of course lately there have been games with both.. Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty, Uncharted, etc. You can even answer with a game that has both options, but its just a matter of which one you prefer. Like me I like Halo more for its co-operative campaign then multiplayer, but I like Max Payne 3's Deathmatch/Free for all much more then playing on a team.

I have to say I prefer a good co-operative over competitive, partially because I tend to suck at just any game.. there are only a few games I can be successful at competitively, Max Payne and Red Dead Redemption or some of those few.. But Mass Effect 3 would be a great example of my favourite type of multi-player.. Working together with character progression, and classes and such. Teamwork is tricky, that is what makes it so entertaining. But if I had to pick a competitive game, I'd prefer a game like Red Dead Redemption.. where anyone can be anything at anytime.. DayZ is somewhat the same way.. The unexpectable is what makes it addicting.

I'm interested in seeing your feedback.. thanks for reading.

Your Favourite Video Game.

For a few decades, video games have been quite a phenomenal form of entertainment, many styles have been created, many stories have been written. There are tons of different genres and eras that video games get set into. You got your puzzle games, shooters (first and third person), adventure/action games, you got your indies, your side-scrollers, fighting games, MMO's, RPG's, (mmorpg's), and tons more... Everyone has got their own opinion, and their own reason for having that opinion.. So, take the time to think about which game (out of all the games you've ever played) is your overall favourite, and then try to remember why that game was your favourite, and what about it fascinated you so much. This is just for the sake of opinions. To make things easy, I'll start.. I would have to say my favourite game is currently, and has been Half-Life 2. I'm not a huge FPS gamer, but I guess back then, I had only had a crappy computer that barely ran Civilization III, I started to play on a nicer computer, thats where I played Half-life/Quake/Unreal etc. But when I played Half-Life 2 back when it released, it was just so much more technically impressive then almost any other game. The graphics were good, the story was great, and the mechanics were very smooth and logical. I pretty much couldn't stop playing it. Obviously, I'm not the only one with that opinion, since it won game of the decade (over another one of my favourite games: Shadow of the Colossus). There are many great games out there, that deserve to win awards, and become favourites, but none (for me) quite influenced my world of gaming like Half-Life 2 did.. It was so advanced for its time.. very few games exist that compare in my opinion.

Aliens Colonial Marines.

I've been intruiged by the idea of this game for a while now, it seems rather interesting and carries a LOT of promise, I'm hoping that Gearbox Software takes advantage of this great opportunity that they have to create something great. Aliens is by far one of the most influential films in the science fiction genre, and I personally think that it has the potential to have the same effect on the gaming world. I don't know if any of you are fans of Aliens, but this could be a sci-fi/horror shooter that could really be something. Now it is just a matter of waiting and watching for more news on the game, and so how it turns out.

The Evolution of Assassin's Creed.

I picked up Assassin's Creed III last night, and I promise not to spoil anything.. so if you're reading this, be fully aware that there are no "Spoilers" whatsoever. I remember Assassin's Creed hitting the shelves, and I had not played it till about a year and a half ago, I was a late bloomer when it came to the AC Series, but I was very impressed by Assassin's Creed. The Stealth aspects were interesting, the gorgeous visuals, great cinematic soundtrack, huge environments, it was all really impressive. Remembering Assassin's Creed, and the ones following, I find myself quite amazed by how much each game improves, even if lets say for example: "Revelations isn't as good as AC II". You can see the ambition and the kind of game they were going for, all of the ideas they were trying to get onto the screen each game, that were improvements over their last installment. Unfortunately, for most companies, they can create a great game and in an attempt to outdue themselves, their sequels are usually a step in the wrong direction, and are not as good as their predecessors. Assassin's Creed in my opinion, has not done too much of this, sure there are some things that are PARTICULARLY best about each game, but in the end when playing AC III, the stealth is much better developed, the graphics are just insane, the world is massive, the combat is much more realistic and free-flowing, and the storylines improve as well. Very few franchises do what Ubisoft has done with AC, there is usually a downfall in at least one installment in most game franchises, but I just give my props to the AC franchise for being, and remaining "Rock Solid".

Video Game Characters.

Two of the first video game characters ever created were.. Left paddle and Right paddle.

Things have changed drastically since then, characters are not as fictional as they once were, they're real people, being caught on camera, being recorded while they talk so on so forth, the fact that gaming has went from move the ball from a to b.. to take on the role of a Man trying to survive in an unforgiving world with a young girl (Yes, Last of Us) amazes me..

My preferences when it comes to game characters, they need to be relatable, realistic, and they have to have that connection with the player, they have to have those problems that will make us that more concerned for them.

Its not very often that a game has a character that is nothing special, COD You are the One Man Army (that also goes for 95% of the FPS genre) or you happen to be the most important part of the storyline, take games like inFamous, Mass Effect, and Prototype for example, your the driving force, the "One who will SAVE the DAY" or "Destroy Everyone", you are the one who calls the shots.

I've written tons of stories in the past few years, made tons of characters, but the fact of the matter is, it took till about a year and a half ago to realize, I wasn't doing anything "unique, or original" in the end this was the character where the world seemed to revolve around them in some way, and if it didn't, they were the hot topic of the entire plot.

I've been interested in making video games for a long time, but I'm serious about it now, and although Heavy Rain was an amazing example of what I am saying now, what there needs to be.. is at LEAST one game where "You're Nothing Special", "You're Not Trained", "You've Never Really Fired A Gun Before" I would go on to say your character has never experienced violence before, and the game shouldn't be about violence and how it affects you, violence is a very common thing in today's world and throughout history.

All I'm saying is that if you make a character that everyone can relate to, the average jane/joe, with his/her problems, but no but no "Quest" of any sort, just a situation that is put before them that they are not sure they can handle, I believe you could get a lot less bad opinions about the character.

Hopefully, in the least it would be memorable, and its something that I am working on, and if I don't beat other people to it, then I'm hoping someone can make this sort of character and incorporate it into their game(s).

Another thing, characters in video games tend to be the bad@#$ guy/gal that you don't screw with, if you give the player all they need to start to accomplish an objective and let them start off strong, there is really not much of a challenge, but if you give them someone weak, someone who cannot do the things that the average game character can, and they don't have all they need, it will take the gamer out of his/her "comfort zone".. it won't be about what you do, it will be about how you even can.

Its just something I think personally, would be very interesting to see in a game.

The Evolution of Game Ratings.

I've been a die-hard gamer for over a decade now.. since I was little I've always been fascinated and amazed by the game world, since the first fighting game I played (Classic Street Fighter) the first shooter I played (Wolfenstein 3D) etc. I've been thrilled by games for a long time and have always had my preferences, and opinions and them.

When I was a little kid I started out with what you would assume I did... games that were rated E for everyone with the occasional Teen game, and from there I began to play games like Quake and Quake II, Half-Life, Unreal Tournament, Resident Evil etc. but Mature games back then for the most part from what I experienced, where known for their overly bloody and gory explosive battles, and how many "Chunks"/Squares could we send flying out of someone in a single game.

My teen years consisted of Teen games 80% of the time, and 20% of the time I was playing the Mature games such as Halo, Hitman, and Rainbow Six... there were a few others but you get the picture, but for the most part these games were about how you could kill people, or how many people could you kill, how many people you could keep from dying, so on so forth.

Games revolved around the basic idea of strong violence when it came to the Mature category.. but also there were games such as GTA and a few others that wanted language to follow, instead of just gunfire, some developers wanted the realism of loud profanity at the same time, back then it was cool to me, I thought it was pretty realistic, and was impressed by how they were trying to add that extra sense of human emotion into what would otherwise be just a plain shooter.

Then fighting games were pretty awesome for the most part... games like Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct, even Masters of Teras Kasi.. (If thats what it was called) were games I played frequently, but when games like Dead or Alive and other similar fighting games began to release, they were more about how revolutionary can we make the fighting game and what can we do to take it to the next level, Dead or Alive was a fighting game where you could kick people through a wall and have them fall down to a completely different stage, or at least it seemed completely different, it was one of the first games that I can remember that did that, if it was not the first game that did that, which it probably is..

At the same time they also added things like clothing that exposed a large amount of Cleveage and backside at the same time.. how awesome can the fighters be while they look sexy in their skimpy outfit.. which was the overall idea of some fighting games.

As time has passed games have tried to "Take it to the next level" in an attempt to surpass competitor's games, or to just make the game shocking (For example: Nudity, Sexuality, and Strong Language) enough for the playing audience that it had them coming back for what you could probably say was "More Kicks".

Games got more advanced, storylines became richer and richer, but the basic idea of moving some blocks into an area in the right way (Tetris) no longer worked as well, and gaming companies were making games with Cinematic storylines (or at least trying) and were always trying to outdue the other competiting games in their category.

Recently in game rating evolution, a rise in the amount of sexual content and nudity that has been put in games has been substantial.. I'm a very open-minded gamer, I wait things out, try out new experiences, because I don't like to call them games so much as experiences now adays, depending on the game.. but companies are still trying to beat each other with how advanced, compelling, and shocking their games are.. which is fine by me, its means I get to experience the work of many many competiting minds.. but at the same time I cannot help but notice the rise in the amount of Mature rated games get released compared to the amount that used to release...

For example... there are QUITE A FEW games coming out late this year and early next year... we got Tomb Raider comin' out next year but that will most likely be Mature, it might not be, but it is looking like its headed in that direction, Assassin's Creed III comes out in October this year, great game series, will be Mature, Borderlands 2 is going to be great, but it will be mature as well, Halo 4 is one of my more anticipated games out of them all, of course that will be mature, Dead or Alive is likely to be mature, Dead Space 3 should be very interesting but it will be mature, my MOST anticipated game coming out most likely next year is without a doubt going to be mature, and Dishonored should be mature, and there are quite a few more.. my point being... with all the great great games being mature, what are our kids gonna play? and how will it affect them? if all of the popular games are mature for the most part, sure there are family friendly games releasing, but my point is a lot of the more anticipated and well known titles, are, have been, or are now rated Mature, leaving very little for our youth to play unless they are to be subjected to the mature world of gaming..

Thanks for reading.. would like opinions..

-ARBALON

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