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GTA V And The (Bogus) Misogyny Debate

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My problem with the review on Gamespot is specifically the hypocrisy that a reviewer from that site accusing GTA V of Misogyny, and yet having a video posted a few hours earlier in preview of the game which included two women dressed up as prostitutes in the guise of comedy.

Furthermore the reviewer is a transgender and will only have ever suffered prejudice for their status as a transgender person (and you see plenty of these prejudiced comments on the Gamespot forums), and will not have had to suffer the type of sexist/misogyny (that she accuses GTA V of) that many women will probably have had to deal with either in their professional or personal lives.

As for the point, there is no point, that is exactly the point of most of these videos posted over the past few days that have come out in support of their colleague... blindly.  For the most part they are completely ignorant to the opinions of the people using their forum who's opinions, no matter how well put, they consider to be beneath them and contemptible.  They ignore what most people say and instead focus on the most extreme opinions and use them to wrongly represent those disagreeing with Gamespot and their point of view in this matter.  

Irrespective of Carolyn Petit' review of GTA V there are others on this site who are repeatedly silenced who think she is an absolutely terrible reviewer, who has double standards when dealing with the issue of sexism, and who quite frankly think the confusing nature of her reviews make a mockery of the scoring process on Gamespot.  An example of this is the review for Sleeping Dogs which was accused of being too violent (despite the fact it was set in Hong Kong using an undercover police officer to infiltrate violent Triad Gangs), and yet did not make any mention at all to the violence in Grand Theft Auto V or it being excessive despite the fact that it has, during one mission, a very violent torture scene which is just as if not more violent than anything in the aforementioned Sleeping Dogs which was, as I said, accused of being too violent.  

When will the media stop its biase atack on the games industry?

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I decided to write this blog today after reading an article posted on Gamespot regarding Katey Courics desire to speak to people in the games industry after already posting a hightly critical article about the ills and bad influences of the games industry in a very one sided piece that did little more than re-itterate the view of most gamers, and probably most within the games industry (although they are seemingly not allowed to defend themselves without being accused of having a vested interest in the argument), that the media was looking for a convenient scapegoat for some of the reprehensible violent spree shootings in the United States, to deflect blame from the firearms industry.

I really couldnt care less about the NRA and what they have to say, Im not American, and its so nothing to do with me.  However as someone that is nearly 41 years old, and has been an avid player of computer games since I guess 1984/85 it does concern me when someone attacks my hobby, not just attacks it but makes comments that border on being slanderous at times in the assumption that because one person who played picked up a gun and went on a shooting spree, that it must be the computer games he played that are responsible.

Just to put this into context but there has been there has been 3 or 4 recent and highly publicised spree killings where the person or persons responsible has used firearms, contrast that to Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 which has reportedly sold 10 million copies worldwide since its release, taking into account some people may have bought duplicate copies or some households may have 2 copies its still going to be at least 7.5 million copies sold mark.  So according to the gun lobbiests who it appears are the ones seemingly quick to blame the games industry and gamers that is potentially 7.5 million people walking around participating in illigal acts due to playing a computer game all because of the random act of 3 or 4 people??

The mind boggles at just how inconsequential the numbers are that are responsible for such terrible acts compared with the number of gamers that played this one specific game, but when you compare it to the amount of people that regularly and frequently play computer games globally we are probably talking  about 0.1% of all gamers that participate in criminal acts as a result of playing video games and although that may be an unscientific number its probably nearer the truth than certain parts of the media would have you believe when linking games to violent/criminal/anti-social acts.

So what is the answer? Well if I knew that Id not be sat here writing blogs, but one suggestion I would make is that rather than blaming the games industry and the developers and gamers we should be looking closer to home, at the parents that allow their kids to roam around the streets in ferel gangs, that give in to demands for games for an easy life ignoring any age rating the game may have, and allowing their children to play games aimed at an adult audience.  The games industry can only do so much and once a game is developed, produced, rated and released surely it is up to parents/guardian and more importantly the shops stocking the game to ensure that certain games are not allowed into the hands of under age gamers that are more than likely not mature enough to deal with the adult themes of certain games.

To blame the games industry is quite simply a cop-out, it is the easiest and probably the safest option because  there are probably no lobiests or politicians with a vested interest in making sure the games industry remains unchallenged unlike certain self publicing groups.

Defiance - Game Review

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Its taken me a while to get around to writing the review of Defiance: The Game for a couple of reasons.  One of the main reasons is that one is that I have found after playing it for a while I have come to not really like it much at all, the early enthusiasm is soon dampened by the second reason which is that after a while it becomes just far too repetitive a game to keep me gripped, or interested which is a shame as Im actually quite enjoying the TV Series which is currently airing on Sci Fi.

Based on the TV Series of the same name but set in the ruins of San Francisco and surrounding Bay Area, Defiance allows you to create one of two species, a human (male or female) and an Irathient (male or female).  There isnt much in the way of customisation for your characters and this isnt as in-depth as say Elder Scrolls: Skyrim in the options it gives you to create your character but I suppose that really isnt much of a big deal to most players.  You are then given the choice of character origin which acts in the same way as it does in most FPS in giving you a choice of what weaponry your character starts with and presumably is more adept at using.

The game starts out with a fairly easy couple of quests to get you accustomed to the controls and after that you pretty much go from quest to quest if you wish to further the story, or you can explore and pick up one of the wealth of side missions that range from races, liberating specific targets, saving people from attacks etc, etc.  There is enough activities to keep you busy and with new content being added after each episode (although as of episode three Id not come across any myself) Trion do appear to be making an effort to keep people playing it.

However the major problem with the game is its repetitive nature, the Ark Fall events really are fun especially if you have  dozens of people there with you, otherwise it turns into a slog where you do not get very far within the time limit and die frequently due to the lack of support, and support is something this game proposes itself to have but sadly lacks.

You see it is sold as being an online multi player game which allows you to go off and do your own things and this is all well and good unless you are doing certain story related quests and then you are required a lot of the time to have multiple players there to get past the onslaught of enemies otherwise youll find yourself stuck at a point in the story that you can not advance from.  The Clans as far as I have experienced have been fairly inactive, the chat system is awkward to navigate and it makes communication difficult and cumbersome, by the time you have found the right place to send a message to the person you are with most of the time they have long since left and switching between channels all the time ends up as a major pain in the rear especially if you are trying to arrange something between players doing the same quest which more often than not require multiple people to complete it.

But my biggest problem is that the game is sold as allowing you to play as a single player, but more often than not you require multi player, but then when you do join  a clan it is as dead as dead can be.  After negotiating the menus you find that no matter how often you ask for request and message people you are ignored, some cases its going to be a language issue barrier and that is fine but I have spoken to a few people both here on the EU servers and over in the States that have said they have experienced that same amount of lack of community spirit no matter which clan they joined, overall it feel at times that the multi player aspect of the game is reliant more on timing and being there when other gamers are around rather than a non-existent social aspect which unfortunately fails to impress.

Overall the game has its good moments and its not so good moments and if you are a fan of the series or are just curious about this MMO then I would advice you look for it either on rental or look around for a bargain price brand new, unfortunately I made the mistake of buying the Ultimate Edition as I truly believed it would be better than it actually was so would hope others would at least cautious about purchasing this at full retail price.

Next Generation - Another Get Quick Rich Scheme?

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While like many I have a favorite system that I prefer to play, and stay loyal to, it becomes for me less about the product, or indeed the games available for it, and more about what I already have, what I would lose if I swapped to another console.   Since 1996 I have been a users or Sony products, having had two Playstations, one Playstation 2, and two Playstation 3's as well as the original PSP and the updated version of the PSP.  In all the years I upto getting my first PS3 I've aleays sold games, keeping a few select ones I may possibly play again, or simply liked, making what money I could back from the second hand market to allow me to afford new games.

When I first got my PS2 I wasn't too bothered about it not being backwards compatible, after all unlike many others I never had that large of a collectiont o begin with and there were only a few games I had kept hold of.  And the same was true of my PS2 games when I got my PS3, I'd sold most of my games on to  finance buying new games.

But as we draw closer to the next generation of console there is a marked change in my position.  you see for me this has been a great generation of console, I've worked for most of the time I've owned a PS3 allowing me to have a sizeable collection of PS3 games, in excess of one hundred and twenty five physically owned games I would hazard a guess at as well as maybe fifty downloaded from the PSN Store and as part of the PSN+.

So it it alarming to think that it is more than likely that when the next generation of console comes around my entire collection will be rendered obsolete unless I purchase the inevitable downloadable versions of these games on the next generation PSN Store.  Some may argue that I simply play them on my current console but then why should I be forced to.  Surely if a game is good enough to be made available as a downloadable purchase, then there is no reason why the console can not be built to allow the use of previous generation games on it.  It's not as if I am suggesting we have a console that is compatibale first the first two generations of console, simply that for once the makers give back to us the people that are paying our hard earned money to buy games, consoles, memberships, additional content, etc  In the current economic climate while consoles no doubt will sell well there are likely to be an increasing number priced out simply because they have invested so much time and effort into the current generation that they are unable to sell what they have to finance the purchase of new games, especially now that the main companies are clamping down seemingly on the sale of second hand games.

Is it really such a radical idea that Sony can bring in new customers, can sell more consoles, can possible increase sales across the board, simply by allowing their next console to be backwards compatible, something which if the rumors are to be believed the next X-Box won't be, which will give them an edge and also allow for the best of both worlds.

Next Generation: The Final Rip-Off

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After spending countless hundreds of pound on games for my PS3 I'll be pissed off if when Sony make the announcement of their new console (which we be at the end of this month), once again they are short-sighted enough to not make the console backwards compatible with the previous generation game.  Knowing (or being almost certain) this will be the case I can't see much point of forking out for a new console and new games for this new console when I have 150 games for my current console.

The games industry like the music industry seems to think we the consumer have black holes for ockets jammed full of readily desposible cash to waste.  Years ago you bought a record, then they were partially replaced by the short-lived 8-track and for a while casettes although the vinyl album still proved enduringly popular until being finally replaced by CD's.  The next generation of music required us to buy all our albums on CD because record players became a thing of the past and if you wanted to listen to music it became increasingly difficult to find a store that sold one (ironically records have lately made a slight comeback due to their popularity among collectors).

The point I guess is that because the industry, in this case the music industry, decides they want to move forward, to move to a new format, it is us the consumer left in reality to pay for it through a forced re-purchasing of items we already own.

And the same now is becoming true of the video games industry, you can but a game for the current generation of console, you can play it, enjoy it hopefully, and want to play it again at a later point, however when the upgrade to a new console is forced on us (due to them stopping making the top rated games for the old console leaving you with the dregs of the gaming industry) we are forced to replace these games with downloadable games, why must we be forced to pay twice for the same game when an easier solution is backwards compatability. 

Violence in Video Games, Guns And Lobbyists

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At some point this is going to turn into a rant, just an advance warning but I get so damn annoyed by a lot of this s**t that it's difficult for me not to want to tell people to go **** themselves.  Now for the record incase the Union Jack flag in my banner didn't already make you aware, I'm not American.

Unlike most I'm not very articulate when it come to putting my point across so have tried to stay away from posting a blog about the ongoing furore about guns and video games and how video games are responsible for all the ills of the world etc etc etc.  The thing is that I honestly thought the NRA would get bored, that them and the politicians going after the video games industry (who are probably pro-NRA lobbyists hence their agenda not being as morally correct as they would have us believe) would realise that they were making themselves laughing stocks with their wild claims and insinuations and would crawl back into the hole from whence they came, but they didn't.

Instead there has been a concerted effort since the shooting at Sandy Hook to divert attention away from the issue of guns and to make this about the issue of the affects of gaming on the young and impressionable.  Considering that computer games come with a ESRB or PEGI ratings dependent on where you are in the World there is a fairly good system in place to ensure children that are under age do not get access to games that have adult content, this of course is open to abuse ultimately though it is the parents responsibility to ensure that their child is not allowed access to adult material, the same applies to movies too. 

As an adult if I had children I would not be letting a 12/13/14 year old play violent adult games, but if I did, and they went on a shooting spree, it would be wrong to blame the video game, and to an extent wrong to blame the gun although you would have to question why a child was allowed access to it, ultimately though it it would be my fault for not doing my job as a parent.

And that is the point I want to put across here.  The NRA and their campaigners can go on and on at length about the video games industry, but a developer and publisher produce a video game, and then rely on the ratings agency to give it an appropriate age rating, if some content is unsuitable as we have seen in the past games publishers are often more than willing to change or remove it. After that it is the responsibility of the consumer to ensure that the game is not bought for minors, and that they are not allowed access to it.  If a games publisher releases a game with an 18 age certificate and this is not adhered to how can the finger of blame be placed at the games publisher/developer? Irrospective of content the ultimate repsonsibility is that of the consumer. 

Now lets turn this around, and apply it guns, it is not unknown for some families to allow small children access to guns (irrospective of their age), they allow them to learn about them, own one, fire them, hunt with them, and for some all this happens before they even reach their teens.  How can it be so wrong for people to play video games that actually hurt no one other than a collection of pre-rendered pixels, when it so readily justified to wield and fire guns that can kill?

Only 360+ Days till E3 2013

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Did we all enjoy E3? I did apart from a few two minor complaints about the live streaming cutting out frequently, and the spam on the chat which seemingly nothing was done about, of course it's always easier to be critical than to give praise and the coverage of E3 this year was, as usual from Gamespot, perfect with a great mix of games on show (it is just a shame though that the publishers/developers were showing very little footage and were in some cases simply re-showing what we may have seen during the 1st and 2nd day conferences).Of course there were so many good things about E3 that they far out weigh the couple of bad things, and this year's E3 was as good as many expected, and wow what a selection of games.

It's amazing really, even though the emphasis does seem to be on sequels, HD versions of old games, etc, that when there are new IP's there's usually something we'd not be expecting (like Watch_Dogs and Beyond: Two Souls).For me as a gamer and someone that's been gaming for nearly 30 years (nearer 28 to be honest as my first gaming experience was probably on the ZX-81 when I was 9 or 10) I never get bored of gaming but then it's not something really that seems to ever get stale. I mean of the current generation of consoles I only own a PS3 but there are enough new games and console exclusive IP's to keep me coming back time and again to that little charcoal colored hunk of plastic, wires, circuits, etc (and the same is true for all you X-Box360 and Wii owners.

And that's kind of the sense I got with two games I saw at E3, The Last Of Us, and Watch_Dogs.

Watch_Dogs (http://uk.gamespot.com/watch-dogs/platform/ps3/) was unexpected, it looks like one of those games you hear nothing about, it arrives, and your hooked straight away while still not knowing much about it (always the sign of a good game?), from what we've all seen though not surprised how popular it seems to have been as one of the main highlights of E3, like many I'll be watching out for it next year and hopefully finances permitting making it a first day purchase.

Another first day purchase is going to be The Last Of Us (http://uk.gamespot.com/the-last-of-us/) a game I've been aware of since before the official announcement (well it was all over the internet for days before, sure someone somewhere lost their jobs for that). There are so many good things about this game, the fact it's by a company I really like in Naughty Dog from Crash Bandicoot through to Uncharted they seem one of the few publishing houses we can trust not to try ripping us off like some *cough* EA *cough*, and they make bloody good games, etc, etc. The video at E3 seemed to just show what they'd been saying about your companion being able to help you if you got in trouble with enemies and the AI being really good, the graphics and game play though look so good

I suppose the only possible problem is the papers who will no doubt wrongly say it is too violent (we all know what the British media is like lol), ignoring the fact that it's probably more realistic in it's violence and lessgratuitousthan many other games which, of course the British Press never let such things as actual facts get in the way of a good story so don't be surprised if there are at least one or two articles in certain tabloid papers between now and release.

There was so many other games too, the new Medal Of Honor game (I may be in the minority that really enjoyed the re-birth of the series 2 years ago, maybe it was too easy but it was a bloody good first person shooter even if there were aspects that could have been done better), Splinter Cell Blacklist, Beyond: Two Souls (I loved Heavy Rain, may not have been great and relied too much on quick time events but hopefully Quantic Dreams will learn from that game and this will be as good as it really does look). Like many I'm unemployed so have to manage my money carefully so hopefully will get a job soon to allow me to put some away for games (or I'll sell stuff I simply no longer need) so on the one hand have other priorities which leave me less and less time for playing games on my PS3 or console, but as a gamer I'm looking forward to this forthcoming year as it has the potential to be as good a year as 2011 was.