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MetalGear_Ninty Blog

Farewell

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The more observant of you would have probably realised that I haven't been active for a little while now, neither on the Atheism Union, nor Off Topic. There is a reason for that; a few months ago I decided that I would not continue posting on this site, not in any capacity whatsoever. Please don't be mistaken; this is not a bitter retreat from this site after some ill-advised debate or spiteful grudge. I simply cannot continue to invest so much precious time functioning in this virtual society. I've just come to the point now, where I feel that the real, tangible world is so more rich and inviting, and that every moment spent on GameSpot could be better spent either by reading, studying, learning, seeing, or generally interacting with the 'real' world somehow.

The main reason why I came to GameSpot was to debate, and I've had some fantastic debates over the years. Now though, I feel that I've debated every topic to be had; debated every user that is worth debating, and cried 'Ad Hominem' and 'Strawman' far more times than I could care to keep count. Don't confuse the message though, I'm certainly glad of the two or so years I've spent here -- not only do I think I've gained a greater grasp of any logical and analytical skills I may have already had, but I would also say that I now understand people better as a result of my many interactions, be it cordial or not, with just some of the multitude of users who regularly use GameSpot.

There are good and bad points though, for which it would be criminal to neglect. In terms of the good, I think that you guys are undeniably intelligent, some of you are brilliantly intelligent I would say. What makes OT so enjoyable is that some of you have a razor-sharp understanding of logic and deduction, which provides a meaningful paradigm of debate, which quite frankly is almost impossible to achieve in the real world. Deception is rife in the media-controlled world we now fatefully live in, and it is reassuring to know that at least some people have the minds to see past the manipulation lauded at us. What's more, this understanding has led some of you to develop sound ethical frameworks which really puts fairness at the heart of its mission. Quite frankly OT, you put the politicians, televangelists and pseudo-moralists and ethicists to shame. For that I commend you.

On the bad side though, manifest in all of you (myself included) is the peculiarities and irrationalities of the human race. Firstly, I'm finding the emotional hang-ups present in some of your philosophies to be disturbing. You're starting to argue from the heart, and not the head, which is surely the death knell of all philosophy. Some of you are so insightful but weighed down by the dogmas of your heart. Secondly, the band-wagon effect seems to be rife in OT. Some of you forgo any rational discourse and choose instead merely to choose the option which user A may agree with, or user B may agree with. You are so desperate to be popular, that you will regurgitate the words that sounds so delightful to the OT intelligentsia; that will ingratiate you with the masses. Be a maverick, say what you want to say! Extinguish the thought-police within your own mind.

Now there are a lot of people that I've met on GS, but I want to give a particular shout to some people. I do apologise, as inevitably I would have missed somebody out that I shouldn't have:

So a big props to:

LJS9502_basic, GabuEx, Foxhound_fox, Xaos, BiancaDK, Pianist, gameguy, Foolz3h, iloveflash, dvader, Theokhoth (sos about messing with you before -- I acted like a real douchebag), Teenaged, Genetic Code, Domatron23, Btaylor, Sun_Tzu, Diety_Slapper, Funky_Llama, Blood_Scribe, sm128, blackregiment, AnObscureName, Bourbons3, Jointed, Lansdowne, BumFluff, danwallacefan, frattracide, batboy, Gambler3, ghoklebutter, mindstorm. Elraptor.

I'm sure I've missed some people out.

As for me, I will most probably (as long as I don't majorly mess up my exams) be studying biological natural sciences at the University of Cambridge. I plan to be some sort of scientist one day.

Anyhow, I guess this really is farewell. GameSpot has, and you all have taught me a lot, and I always want to learn. It has been a blast.

MetalGear_Ninty

Our haven is broken

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Gone are the days when gaming was an ignored medium by the mainstream of society. Gone are the days when hardly anyone outside the industry cared about how the awkward son of the media family was coping. We were living in a haven, in which videogames were culturally insignificant, and irrelevant in the minds of many. If nothing else, the furore surrounding LittleBigPlanet only serves to show how culturally and socially sensitive games are now, much like you would expect from televisions or movies. Will you rejoice though at the growing social gravitas of gaming, or rather yearn for the days of proud social exclusion?

The highly anticipated game for the PlayStation 3, LittleBigPlanet was announced to be delayed by roughly one month worldwide. The delay was a result of an issue regarding the music used in the game. In particular, it was the song 'Tapha Niang' by Toumani Diabate that was the subject of the problem; Diabate's song included verses from the Qur'an in the lyrics. The use of verses within the Qur'an in music is said to be deeply offensive to Muslims. As a result SCEE took immediate action after receiving complaints, and issued the following statement:

"During the review process prior to the release of LittleBigPlanet, it has been brought to our attention that one of the background music tracks licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Qur'an. We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologise for any offence that this may have caused."

This incident demonstrates how gaming now holds social responsibility for its actions, and that gaming publishers are now fearful of the culpability of releasing offensive material into the public. Twenty years ago, the industry were littered with highly offensive games, some containing racist ideals, sexist representation of women and generally offensive content, most of the time, it was a rarity for any eyebrows to be raised at such shocking content.


It's quite ironic how something like LittleBigPlanet could be involved in such a controversy like this.

It is well known that this isn't the first controversy revloving videogames; there has been a host of discussions about the explicit violence of such games as Grand Theft Auto. However, what makes this incident so remarkable, is that the offensive content isn't overt or prolonged, after all, the lyrics in question can only be heard for about five seconds. This demonstrates the growing onus of video game developers to produce socially viable material.

Perhaps a reason for this change is the great boom of the videogame industry in the major regions of the USA, Europe and Japan. In America, the gaming industry is said to be greater than that of the movie industry. The inevitable consequences were always going to be that more people will be concerned with the content of the games on a greater level than just gratuitous violence and explicit racism.

A good example is the following: 'How many black protagonists do you see in videogames?' The question was non-existent in the innocence of the 80s and even the 90s. Today it is different; the gaming industry is now huge, and is therefore has been a mechanism for social examination and analysis. It is perhaps not unreasonable to say that videogames will have as much pressure as Hollywood movies in ten years time to be socially agreeable.

Furthermore, Nintendo's venture to capture the 'mainstream' will mean a greater examination still. With more mothers and fathers in gaming, we will have more concerned mothers and more concerned fathers. As the industry branches out into the public, the branches of society will feed back into the industry.

Gaming has moved out of little boys and big boys' bedrooms.

Whether we like it or not is perhaps irrelevant to the inevitably of the occurrence. More than ever, the industry is moving closer and closer to society at large. Our haven of irreverence is truly broken. Perhaps the internet will now fufill our needs...

GCSE exam results

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Well, here I am, in the twilight hours of the evening contemplating the eight or so hours that I've just experienced.

To be fair, I don't think it would be right to limit this entry on just mentioning the hours of this day, you see for the past few days I've slept really badly, and in general have just been tense. TENSE. Perhaps to some this is ridiculous, but I just feel that today has been the sum of two years of hard work; today is the day that I see the sum of my efforts.

So I woke up this morning, at 6AM, practically dazed out of my skull; cue the next three hours of me gradually becoming more and more nervous. It is one of those sort of strange, baffling feelings -- the feeling that in next few hours your whole mindset will be different, it also felt like I was mentally divorcing myself from the past two years of GCSEs (and everything with that), which have occupied my mind a lot. Maybe too much.

But all was well, I reached school, picked up my results, and they are as follows:

English A*
English Literature A*
Media Studies A*
Geography A*
History A*
Science A*
Science Additional A*
Statistics A*
Mathematics A
Religious Education A (during Y8/9)
ICT B, C (Double Award)
Physical Education B
Resitant Materials Technonlogy C

So overall 8A*s, 2As, 2Bs and 2Cs.

I'm pleased with that, afterall they are the results I have won for myself.

What next? A levels. I have to say I'm looking forward to it, the sheer intellectual thrill -- the challange.

Who knows what's next anyway, isn't that part of the fun?

A Return to the Hardcore?

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Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable decline in hardcore gaming in some areas of the industry; it has been an aspect of gaming that has unquestionably been challenged by Nintendo's casual crusade so to speak, with the release of such revolutionary hardware as the Nintendo DS and Wii. Games are becoming shorter in length, easier in difficulty, which many would say is undoubtedly an appeasement to the casual market -- but is there a new shift in the zeitgeist, a revertion to a golden era of gaming?

Notably, Square-Enix -- the bastion of traditional gaming is delivering an antithesis to the casual gaming phenomenon, it has just recently been announced that Chrono Trigger; arguably one of the greatest installments of the Japanese role-playing game genre is to be released on Nintendo's handheld, dual-screened console. This follows a string of remakes by the Japanese gaming giants, most notably remakes of Final Fantasy classics on the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance as of late. Are Square-Enix really supplying a demand for pure, traditional gaming though, or are they just flogging a dead horse -- advocating a golden age of gaming in which they were supreme -- scared of the new age of casual, social gaming, in which they can't find their sense of place, an age were they don't seem to fit?

Many will be delighted at this apparent reversion to a different kind of gaming to today.

Perhaps people are quite tired of what they perceive as the gimmicks of today's industry, Wii Fit is good and all, but it doesn't deliver what initially attracted so many people to gaming -- and that factor is pure escapism, the feeling that you are interacting in a new world -- surreal as it may be, spending hours upon hours of leveling up my black mage in Final Fantasy will always be more satisfying then complimenting real life factors such as mental aptitude and physical feature -- perhaps that is a principle that has been lost in today's gaming industry.

Gaming today is increasingly based on real life issues and problems -- war, disease, terror. Whilst this is certainly not a bad thing, after all, gaming has as much potential as any other medium to deal with real life issues, it seems that the proportion of these types of games are too high, which sometimes leads to the fantasy aspect of gaming being neglected.

I think gaming is about taking the gamer through a journey, an adventure from start to finish -- delivering a fantasy within and beyond the player's bedroom -- the notion that game's such as Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda were built upon. So whilst I don't hate casual gaming (I've played many the hour on Wii Sports) I think, at least there should room in every console for traditional, time consuming, social life destroying game play.

Whether this kind of gaming, with punishing difficulty level catches on is up to the gaming public at large -- we have a decision -- we can rejoice at this rejuvenation, or merely ignore this slightly geeky gaming world of yesteryear.

...Oh, how nice to see you here

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Finally, after months of frantically completing last-minute coursework, and what seems to be an endless succession of textbooks to revise from, I am now at exams end, and now my 'blog' can officially begin, so seeing as it's is my introductory blog, I think it is best to tell you about myself:

Well, I'm 16 years old, I live in Middlesbrough, England, and I've just currently left secondary school (11-16 education), after a series of about 18 or so GCSE exams, and believe me, I'm exhausted, but no worries as I have a few months to do sweet nothing.

I'm planning on going into further education, and am hoping to take chemistry, biology, physics,maths and English literature, that is if i get the grades I want though, after college, who knows what the future holds.

As you've probably guessed, I'm into videogames, I've been heavily engrossed in Nintendo's hardware, and software, so naturally have a fondness over my Wii and DS, but I have dabbled in a few of the outings on the other twos' consoles, particularly, I really enjoy the Metal Gear series for a variety of reasons -- but hopefully, in the next few years, I'll broaden my horizens towards western games. What I mainly look for in a videogame is a strong, immersive storyline, fluid gameplay and excellent production values.

Forgive me if I'm a little happy, but school's out!

You may have seen me around general games discussion, GS UK board, and off-topic on GameSpot, and I have perhaps have been snappy and irritable, but I guess that is because of exam stress, but yeah, I'm liking GS a lot, I think it is perhaps the best gaming site for the community feel.

Also, because of the absence of exams, I'll be hitting up some reviews pretty soon, so please feel free to have a little flick through what I've wrote, and PM me if you think I need to improve.

That's MGN out!