MORDRED-RANTz: In The Wake of Industry Horror...

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It's a well known fact to most all of us that being alone on February 14th, is supposedly lonely and sad. Okay, maybe. How about adding in the cancellation of True Crime: Hong Kong and Mirrors Edge 2? That's true horror IMO.

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While they may not be the most commercially successful titles of modern electronic-gaming as we know it, they were by far some of the most promising - and on the latter's side, one of the most creative and atmospheric experiences I have ever had the honor of living. I merely wish to acknowledge their passing, their franchise's lives and the hardcore devs who sought to make them happen in the first place. Hopefully in years to come, the necessary tools of resurrection for the said titles will come into the light of the industry; thus allowing the said developers to receive proper acknowledgement.

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Until then, Rest In Peace; and may the fates ward off the coming of further industry-storms...

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-- SIRMORDRED-X


Protagonism ISSUEX2: Escapism, Virtual Relationships + 5 Despicable Protagonists

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As with the vast majority[s] of modern-day media's many variations and formats alike, as with the penny-a-ton family-friendly exploits into hollywood and none-the-less as with most all E-For-Everyone [ESRB] rated electronic-games spanning from approximately 1990-2011/Present; the stereotype is a safe, clear and in turn both thin and see-through bet alike. Substance is merely an after-thought, and rarely [if at all] comes through as one appearing to be wrought from a mind overflowing with either depth of emotion, or else presumed greater experience[s].

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As presented in full through the means of analysed-discussion within the previous installment of "Protagonism" [2010] , the Stereotypes of today hold near-meaningless esteem in the minds of any given participant and/or affiliate, regardless of what they may claim; through never harming, angering and almost always never opposing anyone [emotionally, physically or else mentally on a semi-virtual vs. strictly non-virtual connectivity level], the stereotype is the perfect escape from any sort or form of potential consumer-unrest.

Yet as with most-all seemingly perfect alternate-routes, such forms of character-development have a severe tendency to produce a variety of unfortunate side-effects; tending to follow along the well-treaded lines of the previously-stated weak-points of such concepts. Perhaps the one and only strong-point any given stereotype may or may not possess is the base "ability" [so-to-speak] of making a player forget that their new "embodiment" is not their own. Simply stated, protagonist-stereotypes are more often than not created with the sole intention[s] - no matter how subliminal they may be - of ultimately being ignored.

...And such a brash conclusion in turn brings me to the very point of this follow-up issue; the point starting as always, with a question. If a stereotypical protagonist is so lucidly vulnerable to ending up as no more than a "virtually-soulless" vessel, why bother with such an idea in the first place? After all, common knowledge suggests that the world of the modern Electronic-Game-Designer revolves around a fierce reverence for the many vistas which evolution has to offer in both approach and concept alike; not to mention the many grounds of sincere mental-engagement on which such ideas flow, develop and ultimately transmute into something much greater than simply their originally-envisioned state of finality.

The majority of the answer is generally simple, and comes in the form of one distinctive term: "Fear". The explanation for such a claim resides with the fact that any given character with a persona extending it's wings beyond the previously-discussed stereotypes, is bound to draw out at least one if not more player's unwanted anger and/or attention through either of a hundred-+ separate means. Examples include a decision out-of-place, a method of speech considered inappropriate to the masses or else even more commonly [given recent events] some form or other of religious/racial commentary concerning humanity's past, present or future alike. Such results have, do and shall [respectively] come in greater number as further ventures into the deeper construction of the standard protagonist's personality progress; none the less, such creative oppression wrought only from the results of generalized consumer-opinion hand-in-hand with overall-past external-critical-reaction will serve as only a hindrance rather than a close-ally to the future[s] of electronic-gaming as we know it.

It is with the conclusive base on which this semi-final note concludes, that I with my utmost sincerity present the second issue yet of the "Protagonism" analysis/countdown series "exclusively" on Gamespot...for the time being. This time around, the topic at hand is "hate", for most all electronic-games would be rendered near-agonizing were it not for the acceptance from each and every single gamer's conscience towards the protagonist[s] whose minds they decide to "possess".

Within the darkest depths of fields such as these, personality finds no solace; and likewise neither do those who choose to embrace it's many virtues. Deception additionally preys on the easily-pleased/tricked/confused, and despite the critical efforts of the few who actually support individualism; consumerism's extrovertive approach prevails, leaving behind a trail of "what-could-have-been" [so-to-speak] and all-the-while emerging yet unscathed in the eyes of the masses.

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ACHTUNG!: The contents of the following countdown are based solely upon the traits perceived widely by humanity, to be all-things-considered "Evil" or else - if only inadvertently - "Despicable"; social items of both physical and/or mental manner[s] alike which - like many"acclaimed" movie villains from the previous half-century - are almost too comically evil to dislike. I am also [if to a slightly further extent] aware of the sheer number of hardcore-gamers with both the equal nerve and wish to play through the eyes of sinister or else evil protagonists during the course[s] of their electronic-ventures...a following of which I am undoubtedly one; therefore I cannot stress enough the importance of my own personal convictions concerning the forthcoming countdown: they may be likable, yet their actions suggest different points of view...were they part of this reality...

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x5. James Earl Cash:

ELECTRONIC-TITLE: Manhunt...

Assuming a literary standpoint solely based on the past few centuries, it's rationally safe to say that pretty much every last living individual - excluding those with a severe horde of stability issues and what-not - possess some form or other of basic human-survival insinct; such instincts that - depending on the degree on endangerment - may or may not cause the given individual to react through either harm, fleeing or else murdering in order to "get out alive", so-to-speak. While such base-ideals such as "those-stated to survive the traumas we crawl through during different sectors of our everyday lives" are more often than not labelled - simply - "human" - by the masses of this world, the truth of the matter can only begin to be understood in it's worst form/light once it's very heart has been viewed through the bloodshot eyes of a demented criminal; one with nothing to lose except it's seemingly-worthless existence.

It is here that I speak of one "James Earl Cash"; a supposedly demented killer on death row with an over-bearingly out-going lack of sympathy for human life, a frightful knack for brutally murdering both the innocent and the damned without the slightest manly tear of remorse and no less a head full of troubled memories surrounding the scarring case posed against him.

With no way out other than through the very infernos of his conscience's nine hells - in this case a prison-turned-battlefield - Manhunt's infamous protagonist has no choice but to unleash his inner demons; with what follows going from a simple vendetta to a fully-fledged blood-bath of foul-play.

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x4. Two Worlds HERO:

ELECTRONIC-TITLE: Two Worlds...

If only on a majorly different yet all the same lighter note, the mere prospect of being forced to live out a life of adventure, treasure hunting and intense combat situations alike; only to discover that you're vocabulary sounds more or less along the lines of a horrific, boring and monotonous variation of Microsoft Sam...is dire to say the very least.

While it's one utterly justified emotional object to feel literal hatred for any given protagonist within the many realms of electronic-gaming, due to their despicable actions and lack of understanding when it comes to human-life; such fields change dramatically in context once the problem takes on a more or less passive stand-point. For instance; when it is not the personality that slowly yet surely drives this so-called "partnership" to deteriorate, instead falling back due in part to sloppy-to-say-the-very-least character design elements [in this case, voice acting and performance], it might just be about time to begin questioning most developer's understanding of humanity's virtual connections to the many vistas of cyber-space.

Upon it's near-critically-panned release during 2007's late-third-fiscal-quarter, Two Worlds received much critical-damage from both the official-press and the players alike for it's sub-par visuals, coding as well as voice-acting alike. While developer Reality-Pump has released a horde of patches post-release in order to fix numerous bugs and ultimately improve the semi-broken combat-experience, the one feature that would remain forever "intact" was that of the afore-mentioned amateur voice-overs. Fortunately the team responsible for both the core-game itself as well as the awful dialogue have officially expressed their plans for a cast of specialist voice-actors to partake in the in-development sequel slated for an early 2011 release.

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x3. Sweet-Tooth:

ELECTRONIC-TITLE: Twisted Metal [Series]...

Killer-Clown goes on killing-spree; Folklore started it, Stephen King popularized it and Hollywood subsequently milked it dry. While seemingly the perfect cheap-freakout feast, sometimes it's just too hard to ignore the countless number of adaptations that have simply "borrowed" such a concept and in turn reproduced it for nought but the sake of authenticity, as opposed to evolved originality. As always, the unfaltering originality of game-designers prevailed once more, resulting in what may as well be considered the most insane clown to walk the surface of this plane of existence. So, readers at this point may or may not [depending on their prior levels of experience with the Twisted Metal franchise] be querying their conscience as to exactly "What in the Nine Hells is worse than a psycho-clown?"...with the answer being quite simple: "A psycho-clown with a flaming head who drives an ice-cream truck equipped with dual mini-guns and a custom rocket launcher in order to kill as many people as inhumanly possible"; simply put, "Sweet-Tooth".

While it's certainly one thing to excuse mass-genocide simply by claiming it was a life-or-death circumstance that caused such reactions in the first place; the other side of such a crime - simply killing for killing's sake - is totally inexcusable. Such is the case with the hopeless mass-murderer "Sweet Tooth".

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x2. Adam "Kane" Marcus:

ELECTRONIC-TITLE: Kane & Lynch [Series]...

Perhaps one of electronic-gaming's most fascinating yet equally disturbing effects on any one gamer's mind, is the ability it has demonstrated time-and-time again to out-root a given person's true-persona, discard any reservations wrought by either honor or lack there-of when concerning this reality's consequence[s] and in turn leave nought but an open-minded individual who may or may not relate to even the most evil of protagonists; which leads this sector to yet another point: the most humanized characters in electronic-games are by far the most flawed, as are they the most despicable in both action and lack-of-empathy alike [a looming paradox].

One such protagonist [a "victim" of such traits] first showed his uninviting gaze to the face of this world during late 2007. Bearing the name "Adam KANE Marcus" - originating from an ominous combo of both former-gang nickname and official-title alike [irrespectively] - Kane debuted his intense, dislikable yet all the same chillingly relatable [circumstantially speaking] personality in the 2007 PC/XBOX360/PS3 Multi-Platform game from Hitman developer IO-Interactive, entitled [aptly] "Kane and Lynch". Infamous for it's grave, bitter and emotionally brutal storyline; Kane and Lynch told the tale of two equally degraded mega-criminals wanted world-wide for their horrific crimes against humanity, both with troubled family histories, both beckoned on by the monuments of humanity's sins and all-the-same just as hateful of one-another as they become of those they seek to punish.

The specified trait that makes an individual such as "Kane" so terrifyingly despicable, is that of his innate selfishness; a selfishness many humans of this world possess, whether they admit to such factors or otherwise. Judging by the fact that the majority of the storyline concerns a desperate man attempting to save his family from the brutal clutches of his afore-mentioned employers - no matter what the cost [whom he kills or else what livelyhoods he destroys] - one would be hard-pressed to find fault with his ultimate decisions, were it not for the pain and carnage he left within his life's wake [a mere reflection of the ongoing battle inside his soul with demons yet unknown to the player].

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x1. The Protagonists of Grand Theft Auto:

ELECTRONIC-TITLE: Grand Theft Auto [Series]...

A seemingly obvious choice at first glace, indeed; yet the exact reasoning behind precisely what drives these individuals to commit the monstrous crimes they do is what originally brought my own personal convictions on the matter at hand to the place they are now. Perhaps the most chilling aspect concerning these individuals is exactly how they view, talk about and ultimately commit the crimes against their surroundings; the casual treatment of everyday murder, the "What shall we do today? Hmmm...let's rob a bank for fun!" attitude that plagues their kind and furthermore their sheer lack of remorse towards exactly how their actions affect the masses whose lives they tend to step over with every bullet they fire, every deal they make and every person they injure.

To sum it all up - as if the afore-mentioned wasn't enough to justify a number-one spot already - the materialism which drives them holds no sense of honor or else reason. While even individuals such as Kane from Kane and Lynch had relatable reasons for doing the atrocities they did to those who in some way or other got in the way of their ultimate life-goals, the cold-blooded [and inhumanly portrayed if I may be so bold] characters of Grand Theft Auto's ambition for money, women and power through bloodshed on a mass scale are the most comically despicable yet all-the-same sneakily relatable in all legitimate-gaming history.

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...And so we conclude this brand-new venture into the depth's of electronic gaming's most prominent eye/core. The clock is ticking. Midnight draws near and with it both the beauty of the moon and the darkness of the night [A reflection on how both villainy and humanity walk hand in hand for the majority of our lives, becoming more and more evident as our life's sun slowly begins to dwindle and eventually just goes down]. Best of regards and special thanks for reading from SMX; the air is electrified with anticipation and thus the new year calls out in hope for a brand new venture of sincerely greater proportions into the darkest-depths of electronic-gaming.

-- SIRMORDREDX

Protagonism ISSUE X1: Top-5 Protagonist Steriotypes...

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After so many bewildered years of once-seemingly endless efforts on my own part to finally lead my life's ultimate direction, I have concluded that it's safe [at best] to admit I am my own mind's protagonist; regardless of whether my actions reflect to the external worlds as either villainous or else heroic, or maybe a slight touch of both. With such great realization, comes the urge to explore the minds I enter upon absorbing my personal attention[s] from one reality to the next, and straight into the core of an electronic-game.

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When a random gamer from an even more speculative location enters the mind, takes the helm and in turn stares through the sparking eyes of a given protagonist within the world of whatever venture they may be undertaking at the time; what factors into that which draws them in?

Simply put, what is it that bonds a player to his or her new body, mind and eventual lively-hood? Attitude? Visual Delight[s]? Empathy of Circumstance? Perhaps a vast mixture of variants which is entirely catered to the individual at hand, after all; no matter what stereotypes exist within the world of electronic-protagonism, no one gamer's perception is exactly the same. Such an answer is bound to change as our time progresses; just as it has over the past three decades. May it be that one day we become the visually identical protagonists of the electronic-experiences that we take on; connectivity yet remains the key.

In the following analysis series, an attempt is currently being made to understand the "ins and outs" of what exactly goes through both gamer's and developer's brain-waves upon the conceptualization of a given protagonist. Are the following points mentioned above even considered by the majority of the modern-generations? Such questions shall systematically presented, and in turn answered over the course of these entries; as my hopes are that readers will find solace for both their curiosity as well as their pre-existing thoughts alike within the following...

ACHTUNG!: Prior to progressing onward within this issue's attempt at given enlightenment, I personally must send off an alert to everyone currently reading. Firstly, it is my overall understanding that everyone has their favorite protagonist to reside as, suit to step in or else helmet to don. The following are simply my critical [rather than simply personal] findings concerning the many vistas of protagonism as a stand-alone subject. Furthermore and finally, the following lists concerning "worst" and "best" [etc] protagonists of all eternity are purposefully meant to exclude most all Role-Playing titles, as protagonists from these titles usually vary depending on most players' decisions.

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Stereotype X1: EVERYMAN [Codename: Anti-Vader]:

Trademark Voice-Actor: Nolan North

Prime-Examples: Uncharted [Series], Prince of Persia [Series], Battlefield: Bad Company [Series], Red Faction [Series], Dark Void

We've all seen him, heard him, watched and of course played him in one title or another throughout the course[s] of our lives thus far. He's cocky, funny, able and utmostly relatable towards the masses; finally, like much of ancient writing from the A.D. era - he's not copyrighted.

When a developer is in need of a character that simply "does the job" as opposed to "breaking boundaries", the Everyman is usually the first and last suggestion. He doesn't offend the majority and is in most cases hollow enough to allow room for personal development from players as they slip behind his eyes like water off a duck's back. While usually requiring more or less to no effort within the case of original development, there are some circumstances in which his wit will fool audiences into believing his shallow demeanor to be simply a mask for a troubled and/or complex past.

After making an early appearance in the movie industry throughout a number of titles over the course of the past few decades, and starring in a countless number of electronic-gaming titles such as Crytek's Crysis [2007], Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series as well as Ubisoft's Prince of Persia franchise, the Everyman protagonist only rose to considerable fame with the release of Uncharted: Drake Fortune back during the final fiscal quarter of 2007. With swashbuckling treasure-hunter Nathan Drake at the helm, the formula struck a perfect medium between "safe" and "edgy".

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Stereotype X2: GRAVEL-THROAT [Codename: Back In 'Nam...]:

Trademark Voice-Actor: Steve Blum

Prime-Examples: Gears of War [Series], Clive Barker's Jericho, Bionic Commando, Infamous [Series]

"He may have a troubled past sir and it's true he screwed up back in operation black-razor, but if anyone can get the job done it's him".

The gravel-throat hero usually takes a semi-step away from the everyman's persona, with intentions to instead pursue a darker image with much room for blatant suggestions at a more troubled history; in plain terminology - a cynical, world-weary, battle-worn and more-over experienced individual as opposed to a romantic, hollywoodized and naive action-star. He doesn't pull punches, he doesn't ask too many questions, he's served all his life and he'll save the world if that's what it says on his PDA.

While the points charted above may or may not sound genuinely promising, such traits are used in unison-formation all too often in the world of modern-day action titles. Instead of getting a bonus in strong-personality, such characters have begun to show their wear a little too indisecreetly thanks to the likes of Epic Games' Gears of War and Sucker Punch's Infamous series.

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Stereotype X3: SILENT [Codename: Silence Is My Motto]:

Trademark Voice-Actor: N/A

Prime-Examples: Half-Life [Series], Call of Duty [Series], Doom [Series]

A trait which by now has received so much flack from both the press and the players alike, that one would be hard pressed to find it during a post-2010 electronic-game production, is that of the Silent-Protagonist. Originally conceived in 1980's shooter and adventure titles simply due to the over-bearing fact that voice-acting was mostly unaffordable during those early-days, this "feature" [so to "speak"] soon became a tradition in the realm of action-oriented first-person titles; even after the electronic-gaming industry had accelerated to the position of top-priority industrial phenomenon & power-house alike.

The factual decision to literally render a protagonist silent for the entire course of any given title or else until players are removed from the given protagonist's "view", comes from either of two sources; with the first being to allow players to connect with the world as much as humanly possible with as little original work as possible. The second being that it's simply easier, yet a lot riskier when concerning player-to-world interactivity.

For instance, when directly stepping into the acclaimed Half-Life HEV Suit - otherwise known as the home of Gordon Freeman [Half Life's protagonist] - one may feel that they are only partially taking on his true identity, in opposition to literally becoming "the Freeman" himself; and thus, this seemingly simple factor has caused many to feel that this silent "suit" with nought but a pair of gloves to represent it's supposed presence, is but a statistic rather than a strict reality.

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Stereotype X4: Femme Fatale [Codename: I'm Too Posh For My Codename]

Trademark Voice-Actress: Kari Wahlgren

Prime-examples: Lara Croft [Franchise], SiN [Series], Wet

She's got the perfect anatomy, the moves of a CIA operative, the name of a 70's TV show star and she's always from some kind of victorian English society or other. She most always wears some unanonymous type of ridiculous costume just for the sake of showing off her perfect image underneath; and she'll be gunning the evil-doers down before her foes can say wow.

Originally stepping into the spotlight[s] within the ever-vast planes of Electronic Gaming in the now world-famous form of "lady" Laura Croft; the Femme Fatale has taken more or less a backseat in the role of protagonist, instead usually resorting to the position of sidekick [Chloe in Uncharted, Skylar in The Saboteur and - if to a mildly lesser degree - Xana in Dark Messiah]. Despite being often criticized as a strictly masculine designer's interpretation of the perfect woman, Femme Fatales display a powerful image of women, mostly in the form of either super-spies or adventurers; if in a purely stereotypical manor.

While previously present in hollywood movies dating back as early as the 1900's, electronic-gaming has carried to concept through even the darkest of times over the course of it's existence.

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Stereotype X5: IMMOVABLE DETECTIVE [Codename: Hmm, It Seems I Am Near Death]

Trademark Voice-Actor: Milton Lawrence

Prime-Examples: Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of The Earth, Condemned: Criminal Origins [Series], Penumbra [Series]

Any single individual currently reading this with even a slight memory for the biggest adventure titles of the 1990's, most likely will remember the "Wooden Detective" persona. These seemingly emotionally unmovable characters possessed the near-inhuman ability to completely emotionally detach themselves from their emotions, even after investigating some of the most visually traumatic murder scenes, darkened tunnels and otherworldly horrors that 1990's adventure gaming had to offer.

Despite visibly showing pressurized emotions along the blurred lines of heavy breathing and/or other various ambient effects to add to the given experience, as soon as any form of sonic narration from the protagonists commenced, these private eye protagonists sounded, and to this day [if on a different note] sound simply too calm, collected and sane to be convincing and/or immersive in any way what-so-ever.

"It seems the man was sliced in two before being dragged to that cave where the fearsome beasts of Asgarre turned him into a demon; yes that explains the blood all over the floor up to my waste. Hmm, interesting - I'll take a note of that."...

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And thus I here-by conclude this introductory platform, with the cryptic yet skyward words "a sign of things yet to come". I sincerely hope you have enjoyed devouring the afore-written analysis[es], as I shall be shortly writing a follow-up in the days to come. If I indeed did miss any personas that the community can come up with, then such enlightening commentary would be a welcome face of knowledge.

 -- SIRMORDRED-X

Dev-Icon EP #3: Top-5 Most Influential Japanese Game-Developers of All-Time:

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Dev-Icon EP #3: Top-5 Most Influential Japanese Game-Developers of All-Time:

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Far across the oceans, through the very mists of time and eventually into the sunset lies the Land of The Rising Sun; a world not only renowned for it's cultural advances still unknown to many other nations, yet also it's technical prowess, futuristic vision and in turn it's long-time dominance of the many vistas within Electronic Gaming.


Naturally, in order for such progression to have ever been made in the first place; a select few individuals with the ambitions of the gods themselves, simply had to take the lead in such dazzling mazes of the mind.

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These vast facts of mythical level [within much of the west] alone are more than enough to justify a full count-down dedicated specifically to the most influential Japanese game-developers of all time, from the place housing the very infrastructure of modern electronic-media as we know it; and it is here that I present the third installment of the Dev-Icon game-developer oriented columns.

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X5. Tomonobu Itagaki:



STUDIO[s]: "Team Ninja", "Valhalla Game Studios"...

As perhaps the only man who runs solely off pure "coolness" for fuel, former Team Ninja/Tecmo head and [Team Ninja] founder "Tomonobu Itagaki" has felt the weight of the gazes from the entirety of the action as well as alternative-sports communities on his shoulders more than a single time, and is one of the most well-respected game-developers - not only in Japan alone - world-wide.

Originally entering the world of electronic-gaming during 1992 as an advanced graphics programmer, Itagaki soon grew too considerable renown with the release of his first personal creation; the unique take on arcade-based fighting games entitled "Dead or Alive". No sooner than three years later, the immediate release of the follow-up [Dead or Alive 2] greatly popularized the formula and series alike, along with his name shortly becoming that of a household-icon within gaming communities.

Following the increase in popularity towards Tecmo as a company with the release of the third Dead or Alive installment, Itagaki decidedly turned his efforts greatly towards the re-conceptualization of perhaps one of the most celebrated action/adventure fighting games of all time, simply entitled; "Ninja Gaiden". Originally a 2D Platformer designed during the 1980's and early 1990's, the Ninja Gaiden reboot was Itagaki's self-proclaimed attempt to create an electronic-game based "impurely" on blood, gore and overall violence; and is a series still in production to this very day.

While it's strictly obvious that Tomonobu Itagaki is man to be reckoned with due to his lengthy catalogue, extreme eclecticism and dare I say dark personal image; it's even safer to admit that developers of his caliber will most likely be continuously making even greater and yet more masterful titles throughout the rest of their godly existences.

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X4. Shinji Mikami:



STUDIO[s]: "Capcom", "Platinum Games"

Few developer's names within the confines of modern electronic-gaming strike both fear and excitement into the hearts of any given individual familiar with their work; such is the case to the fullest extent concerning original Resident Evil [Biohazard] creator Shinji Mikami.

Following his immediate entry into Japanese publisher/developer giant "Capcom" in the middle of 1990, as well as the subsequent development and ultimate release of several projects licensed by Disney that he soon became involved in; Mikami himself's continuous focus for the next six-years of his employment at Capcom would be the creation of electronic-gaming's most popular horror-based series to date; entitled Resident Evil.

Being the first to bring true survival-horror into the realms of 3D, not to mention coining the term now used for the genre in the first place; Mikami went on to evolve, expand and ultimately branch out into many different genres as the years went on. For after the release of the universally acclaimed "Resident Evil 4" [a complete reinvention of the series' original gameplay approach], Mikami decided he had seen enough of the franchise for a while; despite being involved all the while in the production of several other of Capcom's high-profile franchises; with some of these being Devil May Cry, Dino-Crisis and Onimusha.

Shinji Mikami has since moved on to create and/or be involved with a variety of other electronic-titles, with his latest sole-creation taking the form of a fast-paced arcade third-person-shooter named "Vanquish".

As a designer of much experience, accreditation and worship from gamers and press alike world-wide, Mikami rightfully grasps a place in the universal game-developer's hall of fame.

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X3. Hironobu Sakaguchi:



STUDIO[s]: "Square", "Mistwalker"...

The tale of Sakaguchi is one by-an-large a considerably rare achievement in modern electronic-media as perceive it. Originally aiming to go into the fields of electronics as a prime profession, universally renowned Japanese game-designer Hironobu Sakaguchi by chance was one of the first employees within developer/publishing giant Square [now Square Enix]. Originally joining the company in the mid 1980's, he found little solace in the unsuccessful first attempts created within his first few years as a designer/producer hybrid. It was only until the company's assumed swan-song that the franchise "Final Fantasy" was first fully conceptualized.

Upon release, the first entry to the series was a giant success; resulting in further productions throughout the late 1980's and 1990's alike; ultimately raising his position within the company and eventually rocketing him to national fame for his work on the Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy properties [irrespectively].

Having sold over 80 million copies of his individual works world-wide, become an icon for the old-school Japanese Role-Playing-Game and in the very end seen Square Enix to the top-tiers of publishing and developing alike, even through the harshest of times; Sakaguchi is by all means a legend in the current history of electronic-game-design.

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X2. Hideo Kojima:



STUDIO[s]: "Konami", "Kojima Productions"...

While electronic-games with a Japanese origin are by-and-large a multi-nation phenomenen, with players from all around the world venturing into titles like Final Fantasy, Ninja Gaiden and Resident Evil; such branching out has never been accomplished by anyone on the exact same scale as one "Hideo Kojima". As the creator of the insanely popular action/stealth franchise entitled Metal Gear Solid, Kojima has made a name for himself through the incorporation of "solid" gameplay mechanics, innovative stealth-based features and more-over his intricate attention to cinematics, story and character personality.

Originally a junior designer at then-struggling publisher Konami, Kojima's first personal venture into electronic-game-design came in the form of one of gaming's earliest glimpses into the stealth action/adventure genre; it was entitled Metal Gear and was an instant success through both positive feedback from press and players alike, as well as commercially a major victory for Konami as a publishing power-house.

Shortly there-after, the original series went on to evolve into a fully 3D franchise during the late 1990's; which simultaneously marked Metal Gear Solid as one of gaming's most recognizable names and all the more rocketed Kojima's name to the top-tiers of console gaming.

As a symbol of great pride to gamers world-wide, the one to popularize the stealth genre and eventually become an integral part of the increasingly-upstanding image a game-designer could possess to the eyes of the "outside" world; Kojima will most likely NEVER be forgotten and precede as to go down in history as one of electronic-gaming's founding figures...

He's metal. He's solid. He has the mental-gears of a mythological god. He's Hideo Kojima.

FACT: Hideo Kojima has been heavily involved with the upcoming release of the official Castlevania franchise reboot, subtitled "Lords of Shadow".

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X1. Shigeru Miyamoto:

STUDIO[s]: "Nintendo"

Taking the number-one spot on this primarily unofficial chart, is none other than the man behind much of our gamer-specific experiences and memories alike when we were younger; his name is Shigeru Miyamoto, and is a universal icon for reasons beyond being the sole creator behind Mario, Zelda and Pikmin: as if such feats weren't enough justification.

Originally joining a small[er] company named Nintendo [which you may have heard by now] during the late 1970's of Japan, Miyamoto's first contribution to gaming came in the form of the arcade-shooter title named - aptly - "Sheriff". Despite being part of the ultimately early failures to break into western gaming audiences [at least the few that existed] within the United States of America, the will of this electronics-core scientist didn't waver the slightest even in the worst of times and under a decade later, this previously unknown genius had somehow jumped into the picture frames of the modern game-design elite through the creation of franchises such as Donkey Kong, Zelda and finally Mario, irrespectively speaking.

Not only has he served as an inspiration to non-gamers around the world to pick up the controller and play regardless of the platform; yet also as a strong inspiration for many of the modern game designers of the western world to this very day. Top-tier developers such as Cliff Bleszinski have cited this on more than one occasion.

If there was a ever single developer to deserve being labelled a "game-design titan"; Shigeru Miyamoto would without any doubt be the first-place candidate.

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"Honorable Mentions"

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Keiji Inafune [Capcom]: Perhaps Japan's most diverse and strictly renowned alike producer, comes in the form of the one and only "Keiji Inafune" of Megaman, Street Fighter and more recently Dead Rising fame. Being a long-time character designer ever since the late 1980's, with a taste for brute force, viscerally violent executions and retro-esc concepts; this mysterious designer's taste for fashion and personality-presentation precede his strong taste in old-school nostalgia.

Masato Kato [
Tecmo, Square, Square Enix]: One insanely popular title credit on your catalogue is one thing; yet each and every aspect of both external reception from the press and the players alike goes to a whole new level of national "worship", when you've taken part in the creation of the original Ninja Gaiden franchise, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Xenogears and none the less the World of Mana franchise within an under two-decade time-span. The bar is set; the gauntlet has been thrown.

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With all delicacy and hopefulness alike, this article has carried the sole intention of spreading the word concerning Japanese warlords of electronic-gaming in both the present day plus the previous few decades.

And despite the ongoing merging of development approach, nation-specific genres and franchises all the same; one may not be able to hold from wondering from absent time to day-dreaming moment - just when will these epic individuals receive the acclaim they truly deserve...

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-- SIRMORDREDX

[Writer's Note: Kindly note that not all deserving individuals could be placed on this list; for there are many more and these are simply a few of the most influential Japanese designers of all time]...

Dev-Icon EP #2: Top-5 Unsung Developers of The Decade:

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Dev-Icon EP #2: Top-5 Unsung Developers of The Decade:

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To the worn, the wary and wasted the world as we know it is by-and-large immersed in an age of unfiltered cynicism. Those who define themselves as naught but who they are on the inside to the outside world are generally met with the flames of critique and those who lie about who they are to the fullest are labled hypocrites, while the many who give in to simply what is expected or else has already been accomplished either completely fail or are met with the shimmering praise of the press.

These facts apply to most forms of recent-media; not in the least excluding the electronic-gaming industry of the modern-day. And yet being an art-form that has not nearly been corporately bound in the same sense as those such as the modern movie-industry have, game-design has a knack to welcome those with both innovation and in some cases ridiculous planes of creative insanity...

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In last week's issue I dealt with the developers most well-regarded by society outside the video-games industry, their perceived image and ultimate influence[s] on the outside world. This time around the targets come in the faint form of those who are known only to the inner circles of design-company-fanatics; in other words...the "Unsung Developers of The Previous Decade" [2000-2010] within the near-seamless boundaries of electronic-game-design.

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X5. Sandeep Shekar:


Studio: Volition Inc, Blazing Lizard Inc...

Perhaps more than any other on the entirety of this chart, Volition Incorporated's very own Sandeep Shekar is a fairly obscure figure. Originally claiming a seat in the council of cult-role-playing developers through his astounding writing, imagination and ultimate design of the Summoner-RPG franchise, Shekar soon became a top figure in the now rather-prominent THQ-Owned studio "Volition"; and his name can be found on nearly all of their distinctive catalogue's franchises in positions of importance, with some of these being Red Faction, Freespace as well as [naturally] Summoner.

With an impressive background in game-design, the credits of being responsible for developing perhaps the very first true Role-Playing-Game for Sony's Playstation 2 console and a sound name to reckon with all the more; one would be hard-pressed to find a better candidate with accreditations such as his.

FACT: Sandeep Shekar's name can be found in the list of programmers that worked on Uncharted 2.

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X4. David Jones:


Studio: Realtime Worlds...

The most renowned developer on this list comes in the form of none other than Grand Theft Auto and Crackdown co-founder "David Jones". This Scottish mastermind - while by no means the most acclaimed or innovative developer in all of gaming's long open-world history - started the formula for one of electronic-gaming's most conceptually heated topics and gameplay formulas alike; one that would go on to create a legacy so large that come 2010, dozens upon dozens of attempted clones would be spilling out of various regions like leaves from a tree of autumn.

If only responsible for the co-creation of such a notorious franchise as Grand-Theft-Auto [that said, by and large in a slightly more old-school format], everybody's favorite sandbox/superhero title and almost nothing more on a ground-breaking scale, Jones rightfully claims a place in the visionary's hall of fame for both his "extremist intuition" during the 1990's, and in turn his legacy into the following centuries yet to come.

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X3. Jonathan Blow:


Studio: N/A...

Many may remember this cult-legend from his recent debut title "Braid", originally released during mid-2009. Acting primarily as a strange, otherworldly, old-school at first glance yet all-the-same innovative side-scrolling experience; this release did not go unnoticed my both critics, publishers and more-over players alike.

Forming a reputation as an arty creative genius and eventual indie-legend symbol, Blow has paved the way through his ongoing work to create a new wave of artistic independent side-scrollers released on both Xbox Live Arcade and the Microsoft Playstation Network. Such influence may be viewed in even more recent titles such as Limbo and the soon-to-be "unleashed" Lost In Shadow.

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X2. Chris Avellone:


Studio[s]: Obsidian Entertainment, Black Isle Studios...

With the ultimate commercial failure of Obsidian's first venture into a franchise of their entirely own original conception, many modern gamers turned their back or else subsequently blacklisted the studio responsible, along with the legendary employees held within it's walls; among them being long-time role-playing-game developer "Chris Avellone".

Now here is a man in charge of not only the upcoming titles "Dungeon Siege 3" and "Fallout: New Vegas", yet also older titles created during his time at "Black Isle Studios" as well as his co-design on some of role-playing-game giant "Bioware Corp's" Baldur's Gate franchise. Among these titles are fan-favorites such as Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Planescape: Torment and finally...[wait for it]...the original Fallout games from the 1990's.

Both experienced and clever, undyingly determined not to mention unstoppably creative alike; this old-school developer will most likely never stop creating electronic-media masterpieces until the day he is warped into the nine hells of Faerun itself.

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X1. Joseph Staten, Marcus Lehto and Jason Jones:


Studio: Bungie...

A trinity. Perhaps THE trinity. Ever since the dawn of the first-person-shooter back in the early 1990's, these three gods among men have thrived upon the limitless feasts of epic science-fiction, creeping horrors of the dark as well as myths from prehistoric eras.

As the base of developer-giant Bungie Studios, Writer Joseph Staten and Team-Leaders Jason Jones and Marcus Lehto are more or less the reason of success for Microsoft's legendary console; not only, yet they are furthermore the developers behind the now-thriving regenerative health system and ultimately the concept of the acclaimed Halo franchise.

Starting as a small company back in the early 1990's, gradually building an army of dedicated hardcore developers over an entire decade and throughout it's time-span developing a cult science-fiction gem of severely underrated proportions entitled "Marathon" before going on to sell millions of copies world-wide during the 2000's; these groundbreaking artistic scientists of electronic-media rightfully take the first spot on this chart.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS [Below]:

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Dan Paladin:

Studio-Title: The Behemoth...

It's one thing to light the fuse to a bomb of great indie-games just waiting to take over downloadable electronic-media; it's another thing to make that explosion look as "flashy" [pun intended] as it truly deserves. This is where fan-favorite Dan Paladin comes in. With the development of the Castle Crashers series, an HD version of old-school side-scroller "Alien Hominid" not to mention countless online flash games and animated short-films alike: Dan Paladin has been re-defining the word "cool" for the indie gaming scene, since mid-2008.

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David Jaffe:

Studio[s]: Sony Computer Entertainment, Eat Sleep Play...

As the developer behind two of the Sony Playstation 2's most acclaimed franchises to date [Twisted Metal and God of War, respectively]; David Jaffe has built a reputation as master of console-specific action. Following the 2007 release of God of War 2, Jaffe left to form his own Sony-affiliate game-company in order to build a complete reboot of his both infamous and famed alike, "Twisted Metal" action/racing hybrid franchise.

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In the end, it is only individudalism which has ever lead the way to ultimate commercialism. These developers deserve their fair share of recognition; and as a life-long gamer, I find my pride to defiantly admit that such recognition is ultimately possible, if only from the minds and vocals alike, of hard-core gamers themselves...

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--SIRMORDREDX

Writer's Note: The previously recalled individuals deserve both faith and acclaim alike, yet are in no shape or form the ONLY unsung developers wandering the many planes of society within this ever-morphing world.

Dev-Icon EP #1: Top-5 Influential Western Game-Developers of The Modern-Era...

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Top 5 Most Influential Western Game-Developers of The Modern Era:

[Writer's Note: The following article deals only with those with great influence over the industry as we know it. Those who may be better developers yet are not as influential are not included on this list, yet will be next time on the upcoming "Unsung Developers Blog"]...

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"The title of game-designer is one that only in recent years gained any form of respective notoriety. While directors are celebrated world-wide, musicians screamed for and even to this very day royal families worshipped; the one true exception for unsung media-based contributors of great influence upon the modern age as we know it, is the role of game-designer"...

...and yet this by and large - "simple" fact - by no means entails the intention to express that times have not changed, titles improved and ultimate fame increased; for it was not long ago that many a family felt a light breeze of shame for those of their name who embarked on the mission to create exciting new worlds in the forms of electronic-media in some form or other. Now - standing in the "2010's" - I can fully express with no doubt what-so-ever that the title of "game-designer" is one pined for by many; and this is for a variety of reasons.

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Many overflowing creative minds from earlier eras, greedy producers from the dying movie industry and top-tier artists have now realized the potential in this "at-it's-height" industry; in turn, the quest for entry through these "gates of platinum" [so-to-speak] relies not on one's ambition for the highest pay-check as opposed to their ultimate understanding and iron-will to both create and eventually succeed in evolving electronic-game-design as an art-form [not to mention as an integral sector of humanity's ongoing livelyhoods].

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It is all of this that brings me to the sole point of article; which is to acknowledge, alert and mutually award the most influential electronic-game-designers of our artistically notorious era [2000-2010]; for whether you love-it-or-loath-it, this viral art-form is taking over the planet as I write.

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x5. David Cage:

Studio: "QUANTIC DREAM"

While originally a sound-designer and freelance musician for electronic-media; game-design visionary "David Cage" is known in the modern-day most prominently for his acclaimed writing and direction alike, on cinematic-scaled interactive-movies such as "Fahrenheit [US: Indigo Prophecy]", "Heavy Rain [Formerly: The Origami Killer]" and perhaps to a less extent for his debut title "Omikron: The Nomad Soul".

Building his growing-reputation through using his very own name as a self-proclaimed trademark for top-tier electronic-experiences of deep, mature and emotionally compelling proportions, David Cage has stated time and time again that his products are created along the lines that his development team [Quantic Dream] is not developing a simple "game", as opposed to a much [conceptually] greater piece of art; a secondary-life so-to-speak.

In addition, Cage has been known for creating games both casual and intuitive all at once. Through the use of complete mo-cap animation, branching storytelling that evolves only based on any given player's actions and finally the implementation of multiple gameplay-formats rather than a single concept throughout a given title; it seemed only fair that the French visionary receive a complete spot on this unofficial count-down.

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Key-Accomplishments:

A. Merging cinema and electronic-gaming seamlessly.

B. Creating non-linear narratives that organically evolve depending on player's actions throughout the course of the cinematic experience.

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x4. Todd Howard:

Studio: Bethesda Softworks

As the man solely responsible for developing the highly acclaimed Elder-Scrolls and Fallout franchises into the form they hold today, Todd Howard has time and time again held the fate of a franchise on his shoulders; and time and time again he has more than delivered.

With the hard-core role-playing-game market slowly turning into something aimed towards accessible and ultimately casual audiences [in my words, basically dying]; the remarkable fact that developer Bethesda-Softworks have stayed true to their philosophy concerning the structure behind each and every single one of their titles alone is nearly unheard of in electronic-game-design's most recent years of existence.

Originally joining Bethesda in 1994, Todd Howard is to this very day one of the most outspoken developers both inside and outside gaming. Ever-trustingly following the concept of simply "living another life" as opposed to just escaping your own, Todd Howard is famed for his work on the highly successful first-person/role-playing-game hybrids: "Fallout 3" and "The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion".

Not only has this developer kept the individualism that his given developer is known for, yet he is also one of the primary reasons that FPS/RPG gaming can exist as a hybrid to such an extent in years like these.

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Key-Accomplishments:

A. Keeping hard-core role-playing alive, evolving and all the same not selling out in the least.

B. ...Fallout 3? What more can one say.

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x3. Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk:


Studio: Bioware Corp.

With electronic-gaming transitioning with all it's glory and most of it's original genres into a brand-new age of polish and notoriety alike, many older fans from acclaimed decades in gaming such as the 1990's feel to some extent "left in the dust". Thanks to masterminds Ray Muzyka's and Greg Zeschuck's joint efforts on their very own personal legend - entitled the "Bioware Corporation" - many of these fans have had the chance to both forever experience what they love about old-school role-playing, while still evolving with the eras all the same.

Previously to getting seriously involved with the many arts of electronic-media, both individuals were originally medical doctors; who one day decided that their chosen path lay in the realms of Faerun, Fantasy and ultimately Dungeons and Dragons.

Originally gaining critical praise from both gamers and the press alike, for their stunning work on the Baldur's Gate franchise; Muzyka and Zeschuk alike have risen to universal fame through their world-wide successful franchises entitled "Mass Effect" and "Dragon Age", periodically respectfully speaking.

Now at the fore-front of today's role-playing scene, the fate of both old-school and futuristic role-playing alike, rests on their shoulders alone; along with the ever-dedicated team at the Bioware Studios.

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Key-Accomplishments:

A. Keeping old-school role-playing alive, yet evolving none-the-less.

B. Creating some of the greatest role-playing titles of all time.

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x2. Rob Pardo:


Studio: Blizzard Entertainment

While not necessarily a better effect on role-playing in comparison to Bioware Corp, the man behind World of Warcraft certainly has a greater span of influence over casual-to-non-gamer gamers.

As the man at the forefront of the Massively-Multiplayer-Online-Game [MMOG] scene, Rob Pardo goes back a long way with his "parent-company", entitled "Blizzard Entertainment".

Originally credited as a designer on Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness, Pardo quickly rose to the top of the company through his positive influence on some of Blizzard's greatest successes, such as "Diablo 2", "Warcraft 3" and yes...the World of Warcraft. While Massively Multiplayer games could in one light be seen as a positive effect on the electronic-games industry, it could also be seen as a casual contaminant that influences other developers to appeal to the mainstream a bit more than they really "should", so as to succeed on a similar scale.

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Key-Accomplishments:

A. Universal popularization of the Massively Multiplayer Online Game.

B. World of Warcraft.

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x1. Cliff Bleszinski:


Studio: Epic Games

Taking first place is none other than fan-favorite Cliff Bleszinski [Otherwise known as Cliffy B or Dude Huge...all depending on your clique and history with the individual's games]; the man behind leading action figure-heads "Unreal Tournament" and "Gears of War".

Unlike many of his peers, Bleskinski entered the realm of electronic-game-design at a fairly young age, developing his first full-title single-handedly at 16 years old [Jazz Jackrabbit...ring any bells? No? "Sad-Face"] and subsequently joining Epic at the time of it's release.

Most commonly known for his work on the "Gears of War" franchise [a gritty action/horror alien-blaster series featuring stylized washed out visuals], Bleszinski is the man responsible for the cover-based third-person-shooter as we know it. With literally dozens of clones coming out in between the year of the original's release [2006] and today [2010], it's safe to say that this designer's influence precedes his reputation by far.

Conclusively, I believe it's safe to say Cliff has in addition become the face of much of the game-industry as we know it; both inside as well as outside of our various "electronic-cliques". As the first modern-day game-designer to appear on a popular talk-show, Bleszinski may well be the one to elevate gaming to the level of "art" in the black-and-white eyes of the mainstream-media[s].

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Key-Accomplishments:

A. Serving as the face of gaming for the past few years to the eyes of "outsiders", while developing a celebrity-like status inside the now-adays vast community of electronic-gaming.

B. Creating the modern cover-based third-person-shooter.

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Honorable Mention: John Carmack [ID Software], for his work on the ID Tech Engine, which has benefited so many great shooters for the past two decades.

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With the amount of main-stream attention currently being aimed towards electronic-gaming of the modern-day, perhaps these "gods-of-game-design" shall soon receive the attention and renown alike, that they truly deserve.

Writer's Note: Thanks for reading; this installment was purposefully fast-paced for the sake of the reader's time.

This article shall be followed up shortly in the days to come, with one addressing the top unsung developers of today.

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--"SIRMORDREDX"

Fan-Boy Hypocrisy: 10 Alluring Exclusive PC/Console Titles - Part 1/2

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Fan-Boy Hypocrisy: 10 Alluring Exclusive PC/Console Titles a ...Devotee Simply CAN'T Pass Down...

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WARNING: MORDRED-RANTz EDITION...

It's no secret to the ears and eyes of modern gamers world-wide that electronic-gaming has been subject to perhaps THE worst form[s] of fan-boyism over the past decade out of any given media-format. Ever since the growing-prominence of console-living-room version gaming, the older - more hardcore - PC gamers have prided themselves in sincerity, maturity and depth concerning games released exclusively for their given play-form.

Like-wise, console gamers have had their own greatly-publicized conflictions over "which console is a better core-system"; and to tell the truth I believe we all know deep down that the real answer to this argument is: there is no "better" platform. There may be better shooters or better role-playing-games for that matter on the opposite system and Sony may experience times of legend while Microsoft crawls in the dust [and like-wise]; but this by no means negates any given platform to a lively-hood of scorn, loathing and side-lining.

And yet through putting all of these harsh complexities aside; the vast vistas of gaming demonstrate to our very own eyes that time still goes on, console-versions evolve, generations change and exclusives thrive on their given platforms.

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In the end we are still all gamers at heart: for when trouble arises and politicians cry against our "faith" [so to speak]; we are outmostly ready to line up side by side and forget our prime concerns with one-another's differing tastes. No matter what the platform, truthful greatness in electronic-games is by-and-large a rare factor to come across within the industry during any given decade; and when it does show up on our door-step - PS3, PC or Xbox - you'd be hard-pressed to find a "real-gamer" turning down such an opportunity to the very nine-hells of Faerun.

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And this is where such an article as "Fan-Boy Hypocrisy" leads me to write: no matter what hardcore fan-boys may claim; they've most likely craved a game from a platform they verbally express hatred for more than once. Console gamers craved "Crysis" upon it's release in 2007 while PC gamers crave Red-Dead-Redemption to this very day. It's a rather natural cycle, and with this I present the full issue of Fan-Boy Hypocrisy, entitled: 10 Alluring Exclusive PC/Console Titles a Devotee Simply Can't Pass Down...

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[Note: The following titles have been selected on an utterly speculative basis, and are meant to represent the views of the masses as compared to our individual hard-core tastes. If some rad titles are left out, understand that this was a conscious decision by the writer, SMX].

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First - Wave:
5 PC-Titles Console-Gamers Crave:

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x1. Lord of The Rings: Online:


Developer: Turbine Incorporated

Year of Release: 2007

With Final Fantasy XIV on the way, and bound to be in gamers' hands sooner than later, one might consider it slightly if not insanely preposterous to suggest the development of yet another large-scale MMO for console platforms even close to the release of such landmark online title.

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The truth is, however, that the console fan-base alone behind a franchise such as Lord of The Rings is more or less equivalent if not greater in the west and either console figure-head - Sony or Microsoft in this case - would benefit greatly from the addition of such a large scale MMORPG. Microsoft, in this case could easily create a gold-membership alternative to the PC-based subscription model that holds back most modern online-only electronic games; in turn, this fact alone may or may not be the next step in the evolution of the MMO in general.

x2. A Total-War Installment:


Developer: The Creative Assembly

Year of Release: N/A

With the amount of strategy titles being released for the Xbox 360 and PS3 in recent times, one would have thought it only fitting to at one point or another attempt the conversion of a previously released "Total War" title from "The Creative Assembly".

Acting primarily as perhaps THE most popular strategy franchise on the Windows-PC aside from Blizzard's Warcraft and Starcraft franchises alone, the Total War series has been easiest to manifest on PC platforms due in major-part to the insane complexity surrounding both it's unit-command system and [come Empire: Total War's release] astonishing visuals.

While it may not seem like the ideal strategy port for a console [in some views perhaps the very worst], most all console-strategy fans have expressed major interest in the series being brought to their given console-devices...

x3. Mount & Blade:


Developer: TaleWorlds Entertainment

Year of Release: 2008

Finally reaching perhaps THE MOST obscure title on the list, we arrive at the gates of acclaimed indie-developer TaleWorld's medieval simulation title "Mount and Blade". While anyone reading this who has experienced the pleasure of enjoying the harsh wilderness of such an underrated title, may be thinking that any kind of high-budget addition to the franchise would be a blessing to the world of gaming as a whole, the gameplay is almost seemingly perfect for a transition to most consoles; utilsing both the complexities of the great PC-Role-Playing-Games, and all the while not going overboard with pointless-features.

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Originally released over a multiple-year-long community-friendly development period, and finally released digitally on the September of 2008, TaleWorld's single-player oriented fantasy title garnered much attention from the press and gained a simply massive fan-base over the course of only two-years.

While not particularly sought after by casual or console gamers alike, with a little influence from a top-tier publisher, the franchise has the potential to out-do itself in the ultimate long-run.

x4. S.T.A.L.K.E.R:


Developer: GSC Gameworld

Year of Release: 2007

With a name icy enough to chill even the most hard-core of gamer's bones, a reputation by and large universal and a horde of console gamers infatuated with the idea of a console friendless version, the Ukraine developed franchise entitled "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." is infamous for it's deep gameplay, savagely-unforgiving combat and ever-terrifying atmosphere.

Originally conceived as a multiplayer science-fiction/horror shooter, S.T.A.L.K.E.R's lengthy development time was viewed to have been for the very best when it was first released in 2007, to "sleeper-hit-esc" press-reception and even greater feed-back from players.

Excerpt from SirMordredX's Review:

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"Here in the "Zone", various dangerous anomalies have formed and affected the world around the reactor; and in doing so has mutated creatures into hideous versions of their former selves. Packs of wild dogs roam the landscape, brain-dead humans roam the mountains and the underground is even worse off. Dark and dangerous, below the empty cities lie the old engineering tunnels which house the darkest of human fears. And as they say, in hell no one can hear you scream except that which constantly torments you."...

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Set in the crumbling ruins of the horrific "Zone of Alienation" which houses the irradiated Chernobyl-Power-Plant, STALKER casts players as a lone scavenger with no friends, no hope and...no memory.

With a sequel in official development for PC and Console platforms, the 2012 Sequel to the original masterpiece that plagued so many PC-gamer's minds will have no reason enrapturing it to be missed; unless the radiation of the Zone itself has by then consumed your very mind.

x5. A Game from Blizzard:


Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Year of Release: N/A

What many see to be as the greatest pride left of the PC-specific industry comes in the form of near-prehistoric [in the eyes of the old-school] Role-Playing and Strategy electronic-game developer "Blizzard Entertainment"...

As the devloper of two of the world's most successful gaming franchises [Starcraft/Warcraft and Diablo], and the world's most popular online-social-game service [World of Warcraft], the call from the console-industry to Blizzard's gates of platinum is nothing short of overwhelming, yet the PC-dedicated clan of developers won't go down with out a fight.

Originally releasing their acclaimed Role-Playing-Game Diablo for the Playstation One many years back, Blizzard tore away almost completely from their involvement with consoles following the suspension of their first "third-person-shooter" project entitled "Starcraft: Ghost".

Viewed world-wide as the masters of PC-Strategy gaming, Massively-Multiplayer-Online Games and even more so of dungeon-crawling Role-Playing experience; Blizzard have been for over a decade a common gaming-household name, and are sought after by almost every platform on the market. Judging by the previously stated, it would come as no surprise if Blizzard started on a console-specific franchise at one point or another in the next decade; though that said, hopes do not exist to be raised: and Blizzard's "smelt" approach to PC-Gaming is one rarely found in modern electronic-gaming as we know it.

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Honorable [Personal] Mention[s]: Cryostasis...


Runner-Ups: Neverwinter Nights


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...And so ends part 1 of the Fan-Boy Hypocrisy: 10 Alluring Exclusive PC/Console Titles - Part 1/2 blog - the second part is already complete and was in fact supposed to be released with this as a complete package. Everything is under-way, and it will arrive shortly.

In the next article the console-favorite's from the eyes of the PC-Community will be revealed; stay tuned for more...

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Thanks for reading everyone as usual; it was long and more of a "rant" than usual, so I'll understand if you skipped half of it. Originally this was supposed to be two articles, yet appeared "two" bland to me in that mannerism.

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--SirMordredX

Unsung Prequels of 2010 - Issue #2: Concept Wrap-Up and Blog Finale

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Unsung Prequels of 2010 - Issue #2:

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Perhaps the most appropriate genre of any given decade in electronic-gaming to "prequalize", would be that of the Role-Playing-Game. While seemingly non-scensical in fact, the reasons behind this usually rely on the majority of any product's fanbase's keen interest in the history of each and every character, object or realm for that matter.

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While most action games to this day on occasion feature story-heavy plots and sub-plots alike, most gamers could care less about what is externally going on in the world they virtually reside in as compared to exactly what they get to within it [this can be seen in many modern-titles that visually provide the ability to skip cutscenes or dialogue], and so in turn tend to ultimately not truly mind what installment of a franchise they take on whether it be a prequel, sequel or else launch-title; on the contrary, role-playing-games and adventure titles would be naught but flashy platforms without much substance were it not for their extreme precision-focus on epic-storylines, vast realms and even more so on diverse characters: all out to spark many a player's interest in both their past and future alike.

These factors have been taken into account by most major electronic-gaming publishers and developers alike of the modern-day, who have in response throughout the previous decade [2000-2010], added many Role-Playing aspects into their own titles - whether they be action, sport or shooting oriented alike - with the hopes that their franchise-followers will take more interest than not, in their attempts at one or more potential prequels yet to be proposed.

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"To write a prequel is - all things considered - to write or else re-write something or someone's preconceived past or else to create such a memory[s] previous to the creation of a segment of the given object's future; while seemingly easy, such a process is one of the most complex forms of writing, seeing as tears within a plot are easily found and attacked by the reviewing press"...

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Hence, the majority of titles in the following follow-up issue of "Unsung Prequels" all share a common relationship or variant to old-school-role-playing and storytelling; kindly enjoy the revelations and feel inclined to add your own titles to the topic through the means of your commentary below.

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x3. TITLE: Mass Effect

DEVELOPER: Bioware

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2007 [Xbox 360], 2008 [PC]...


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Trudging the barren or else lush/lively environment[s] of an unknown-planet/asteroid, drinking at an alien-managed-bar and warping through space at the speed of light in a futuristic space-craft are nothing short of old yet long-lasting concepts to any form of creative media in the previous century; and yet we still take much interest in these worn-out concepts that may one day be a reality in the "real-world".

Taking great influence from the great space-operas of the 20th to 21st centuries of mankind's existence, legendary role-playing-game developer "Bioware Corp." rained down a shower of scientific-"enthrallment" during the final fiscal-quarter of 2007 with their highly anticipated and long-awaited alike release of their science-fiction action-RPG entitled "Mass Effect".

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Tackling many a boundary that had once held old-school role-playing-games in a dark corner and out of the modern-gaming mainstream, while also single-handedly telling perhaps the greatest story in the science-fiction opera genre since Star-Wars to this very day; Mass Effect gave gamers worldwide a reason to care about an entirely new universe of characters, planets as well as alliances while still appealing to mainstream gamers with a satisfying combat-system, exciting character-customization and fast-paced exploration gameplay.

Taking into consideration both the outlandishly-successful sales as well as the vast universe, both Electronic-Arts and Bioware immediately took to hiring an in-house writer of their own to write an entire trilogy of books based in the Mass Effect universe to give us a fair-share of both backstory and desperately-craved "fan-meal".

While a request for a prequel to be developed in some format or other may be one given on short notice, seeing as it's been less than three years since the first title was released; fans world-wide crave a both a third-game and a prequel alike, perhaps to elaborate on what has happened as well as what is to come.

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x2. TITLE: The Witcher

DEVELOPER: CDProjekt Red

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2007 [PC-Basic], 2008 [PC-Enhanced]...


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Taking the second spot in the "Unsung Prequels Chart" is a dark-fantasy landmark role-playing-game, that previously took the spot of [personal comment alert] my [SirMordredX] greatest electronic-game of ALL-TIME.

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[Setting personal-bias aside] During the fall of 2007, Polish masterminds CDProjekt released their debut video-game entitled The Witcher; a dark, mature, deep and compelling action/role-playing-game strictly for the PC. Based on the highly successful works of renowned author "Andrzej Sapkowski", the tale of the Witcher took to setting players in the shoes of a medieval monster-hunter named "Geralt" who - with naught but a sword, a mission and a missing memory - sets out on a quest for "reclamation and vengeance" when hired-swords invade him and his fellow "Witchers'" castle-stronghold.

Featuring stunning voice-talent, a world brutal and dark, visuals to be reckoned with as well as a story of epic-proportions; the Witcher set the benchmark for PC-Role-Playing-Games once more when it took the dying world of PC-gaming by almost surprise three years back. With a sequel under-way and currently frozen-plans for the development of a console version of the first game, some may feel that a full-blown prequel is too much to ask in the coming few years; yet from where I see it - taking into full consideration that there are many other books regarding the world of the Witcher's past in the original writer's library - a prequel is a must; regardless of the year of release.

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x1. TITLE: Kane and Lynch

DEVELOPER: IO Interactive

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2007 [PC, Xbox 360, PS3], 2008 [JP]...


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Many have tried time and time again to convey what many call gritty or realistic interpretations of real-world dealings within the many mafias of today; both in film and gaming alike, and yet - in the realm of electronic-gaming - no single developer had ever succeeded in fully capturing true depravity, hopelessness or grit for that matter in one single attempt. It was not until the release of IO Interactive's [the makers of the renowned/infamous Hitman franchise] Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, that such emotions came together with the impact of a single piercing bullet.

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Excerpt from SirMordredX's review:

"Blood, Sweat, Tears; all words fitting of Kane and Lynch, and yet no catharsis waits at the end of the tunnel. The light has permanently ceased to exist for both of these men's lives. There is no hope to be spoken of, for it now takes the form of bloodshot memories, flashbacks and accusative voices of friends - those of a man with nothing left to lose; and only pain, only sorrow - only vengeance plagues this man's life".

[Read full review: HERE.]...

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Kane and Lynch: Dead Men first exploded onto the erratic scene of gaming on the eve of 2007. Boasting typical third-person combat, glitch-ridden console-gameplay and considerably dated graphics judging from the time of release; reviewers were not keen to give it an easy launch, and many [as most action-gamers tend to] ignored the unsteady bound-to-be cult storyline that plagued the entire experience around nearly every corner, while referencing solely the worst aspect of the game itself: the trendy yet by-then tired gameplay mechanics.

[While a big-blow to both sales and respect indeed, IO did not give up hope on the franchise and got to work on a sequel almost immediately after the faltering release of the first title. Released in 2010, the story from the first game was reignited in all it's brutality with the slightly warmer-received follow-up entitled "Dog Days".]...

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Perhaps the single most-praised aspect that "Dead Men" had to offer up to gamers, was the wavering-dynamic relationship between the titular characters: "James Lynch" and "Adam Marcus Kane". Both humorous and brutal, the two's constant banter and accusative attitude towards one-another carried the plot all the way from simply "brutal" to pure "regallity". If one solely took a signal from this important-factor, as well as the emphasis on Kane's troubled past in the mafia; it would seem only "right" that the two mega-criminals receive a full prequel in some way or other, as there is much to be learned about these psychotic, hopeless and troubled individual's past.

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And here we come to the end of the Unsung Sequels Mini-Blog Series, thanks for reading and as always, feedback/discussion are most welcome...

RUNNER-UPS FOR UNSUNG SEQUELS OF 2010:

Grand Theft Auto 4

Summoner

Condemned: Criminal Origins

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--SirMordredX

Unsung Prequels of 2010 - Issue #1:

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Unsung Prequels of 2010 - Issue #1:

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Being the start of the 2000's second decade yet, it's only natural that we see the announcement not to mention release of plenty of electronic-gaming sequels: some to games of the 1990's, some spiritual successors and many others of perhaps more recent caliber concerning age. This fact is [if I may be so bold] bittersweet to many; seeing as much as we enjoy sequels to our favorite games, we also take pride in familiarizing ourselves with characters, worlds and franchise's pasts alike. One might ask them-self exactly what the best method of advancement [or lack thereof] may be, if one excludes the prospect of novels overflowing with universal back-story[s].

My answer is - like many other gamers; casual and hardcore alike - prequels. While we've tasted such uncharted waters through the means of both bitter and sweet filters alike, not as many prequel-games as we would prefer have been even announced this year; as such a concept more or less ends with the release of Bioshock 2 and Halo: Reach respectively,come the dawn of 2011. Keeping this irreversible fact in mind, the obvious approach to getting the prequels we want is to alert the developers we love. Hence, the following article is an attempt to list the most worthy [through my analytical eyes specifically] electronic-games that not only deserve, yet also crave some form or other of prequel. As with my previous blog-set concerning sequels, I will split this into various distinct blog-posts; all concerning five previously-released electronic-games.

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For those interested in the "Original Series" entitled "Unsung Sequels of 2010", I shall willingly provide the links necessary for maximum ease of my fellow bloggers as well as my "devoted readers"...:

:UNSUNG SEQUELS OF 2010:

Issue #1: The Saboteur - 2009 [Xbox 360, PS3, PC]

Issue #2: Summoner 2- 2000, 2001 [PS2, PC]

Issue #3: Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of The Earth - 2005, 2006 [Xbox, PC]

Issue #4: Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines - 2004 [PC]

Issue #5: Dark Messiah of Might and Magic [Finality] - 2006 [PC]

...SPECIAL-ISSUE: Honorable Mentions...

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The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay:

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Following it's immediate release on the very eve of gaming's legendary "hallmark" year of 2004, respected developer/publisher Starbreeze in coalition with Vin Diesel's personal-electronic-game studio Tigon, demonstrated to the entire world that -if done right, with the right timing and through the right hands - games based on feature-films can actually ultimately prevail. Taking a hybrid stealth/adventure take on the ever-thriving genre of the "First-Person-Shooter", Escape From Butcher Bay set players in the unfortunate-boots of one "Richard B. Riddick"; a name known to most all familiar with the movie-franchise starring Vin Diesel himself as the titular character.

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Throughout the course of the game players were set in between a rock and a hard place, upon landing in the middle of a dusty wasteland and being thrown into perhaps the most feared, high-priority and complex mass-prison alike that mankind had ever known. With no intention to rest easy or fall captive to the mafia-esc gangs that prey on the weak and recruit the strong in the metropolitan mega-complex that was is Butcher-Bay; Riddick spends most of his time either lurking viciously in the shadows, crawling through the claustrophobic tunnels or prison-air-vents and making a cleanly-executed corpse out of any living or mechanical creature that could potentially pose a threat to his harsh existence.

Setting aside the gameplay, Riddick's story expands far beyond the walls of simple prison; as demonstrated in the two prior-released feature-films undertaking the task of recording his exploits and adventures, as well as a semi-sequel entitled "Assault On Dark Athena"...

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[...Screenshots taken from original version of "Escape From Butcher Bay"...]

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With a firm cult fanbase and an even bigger audience of eager gamers, the "Riddick Franchise" simply begs for an episode of backstory concerning both the titular character's ancestry and even more importantly his descent into the shadowy world of universally-wanted serial-killers.

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--SIRMORDREDX

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P.S. Keep and eye out for issue #2; it shall cover the rest of the entire article and be released fairly soon...

Electronic-Gaming TODAY - Issues Finale x5: The End of Gaming As We Know It...

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Electronic-Gaming TODAY - Issues Finale x5: The End of Gaming, The Debut[s] of A New World...

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Throughout each and every previous decade belonging primarily to most all electronic-gamers favorite industry [the gaming business], most products have been - whether we like it or not - have been at their core, games; as opposed to alternate lives that we may or may not choose to keep living.

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Over the course my previous installments of the "Electronic-Gaming-Today" series, I personally have sought to alter many a person's perception and treatment alike of video-gaming in general; after all, this IS 2010 and what we used to refer to as gaming is now no less than the communal living of a set-life [in most cases]with a preset ultimate series of goals. One could attempt to argue against this, yet by the time they had won their lawsuit they may just well step outside to find that these words are additionally a true-reality to the non-gaming public[perhaps in 2020].]...

Speaking of the future, within the containment of this final issue, I will attempt to chase down the facts and go as far as need be to discover the truth behind "exactly how corporatization will affect the electronic-game industry in the years to come". While it may sound drab and boring, it's just as important to gamers and journalists alike, as it is to both the developers and publishers of today as well as tomorrow. While I have already firmly covered the strict amount of influence that those involved with the movie-industry will have on gaming within the years to come [see "ISSUE x3" for further details] - or more precisely the lack there-of - I have not yet covered how gaming's own "corporatization-process/elements" will attempt to "change the game" in all eventuality.

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Taking even a considerably-brief gaze into the future of this planet's gaming-economy, is harshlyimpossible to achieve with a fully-intact - not to mention accurate- picture; as the electronic-gaming industry is still rather new, and is rampantly subject to change both directionally and corporately. That said, there's been a pattern over the past decade; one containing many ups and downs, many gains gains as well as layoffs and an uncontrollable increase within the subjectual boundaries of income for both the publishers and the developers alike.

Another worryingly increasing topic among the user-community[s]is one concerning both the "content value" as well as the length of most games on the market, exactly how critics ultimately REview these titles and in turn how well they sell.

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Once again taking a throw-back to Issue-3, some might recall the hopeless [at best] efforts from many film-production companies to quickly produce cheap, short and shallow titles in gaming that they expect to sell,based solely on their respective films' popularity. And this strategy worked in gaming,to some extent; that was of course up until many publishers decided upon giving many of their own yet-unknown franchise-additions a similar treatment [excluding the lack-of-depth and cheap parts] in length. With not much popularity for hardcore audiences to go on, let alone the casual masses; games such as Dark Void faltered in scores with critics, and in popularity with those who did buy such titles due majorly in part to their length/content-amount to package-value ratio. Similarly, film-based titles such as "Wanted" might have fared a lot better if their short 4-5 hour experiences had been even slightly longer. Such a tactic simply hasn't worked in gaming, and the bright side is that some developers know this; causing them to at least try and pack as much action as well as"memorability" into each and every game - no matter what length - that they produce.

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...ABOVE: Wanted - Weapons of Fate: Xbox360 Metascore - 62...

...BELOW: Dark Void: Xbox360 Metascore - 59...

[Looks like shorter-games fair even worse off]...

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Taking into prime-concern that such a contextual-direction is more likely to prevail more so than not - due in part to the obvious fact that it's not too incredulous in the minds of most publishers - let's take a look at what gamers really want; despite what you're first thought may or may not be upon reading this, such an answer is split into various categories: with some of these being those who prefer depth-over-length, those who prefer length-over-depth [yet won't settle for a long and drearily bad game] and those in the overly-casual-masses who simply don't care what they do with a a controller[to them, an electronic-game is an electronic-game...and there aren't any variables to their kind either]...

My supposed premonition is that the casual audiences shall grow as time moves on, the hardcore audiences fray and the rest linger in what is already offered up at present; of course this is not a firm-consensus on what will happen every single year upon year upon end, and such theories may only happen during fairly brief stints of time.

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What the future holds is more-or-less never a complete certainty, yet in my book it takes the name of "Short but Sweet"...are these signs of a dark future for this world's most increasingly prominant industry, or those of a bittersweet swan song?

..."Only time will tell"...

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-- Thanks for reading Electronic-Gaming Today, SIRMORDREDX...