Verenti / Member

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Verenti Blog

The Future...?

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So, I've been writing about one blog post a month for a year now. I've been unemployed and it's nice to write something for a large community now and then-- though I'm reasonably sure that only a few dozen people ever read any of these. It's been fun, but I'm here to announce a few things which might lead to less posting here:

1) I got a job! With the Government! That's right, after exactly a year of searching for a job, I finally am set to start working a real job. It's exciting, and I hope it opens doors for me in the future.

2) I started a new blog! It's on Defence and Human Rights issues, focusing in on the EU from a Canadian perspective over at Euractiv. So maybe that's not the typical fare for people going to Gamespot, but I hope to post an article every Friday. It might be worth checking out still!

3) I have a novel coming out soon! I'll definitely post something when it's out and find lots of ways to insert it into casual conversation. I'd love to talk about it more, but I'm trying not to spoil it. You'll be able to pick it up for cheap on Amazon.

I've had a lot of fun Gamespot, and I'm not planning on going away all together, but I might not be around with my 500 word musings on any given topic so much.

 

Cheers,

Verenti

Talking at the Television

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I am a huge fan of the interactivity of sites like Gamespot, ExplosiveAlan and Outsidexbox. I think that the internet allows for a degree of participation that moves well beyond traditional media. We sometimes say it has a democratising effect. Personally, I'm interested in whether this democratisation could be utilised to bring government closer to everyday people and restore voter interest in government through a regime of participation and transparency. However, the degree of interactivity on many websites doesn't reach ZeFrank sorts of levels. ZeFrank is an internet personality who pioneered interactivity on the internet. That might sound ridiculous and one might assume that the internet was always interactive, but I assure you, in terms of the content, it often wasn't. He hosted a web show, which was filmed Monday through Friday for a year (March 17, 2006 March 17, 2007). He didn't just have viewers comment on the videos, viewers made content for the show: from intros to collaboration on projects to inspirations for shows. ZeFrank is into interactivity in a big way. For him its about connecting to people, and he's made a number of TED talks. He's a really interesting person, and you should watch them all. As he puts it to feel and be felt (really connecting with people isn't easy) is this fundamental goal of human beings. Strangely enough, I think this is where a lot of online websites fall down.

 

I've been a regular participant on the above mentioned sites for about two years now. Not all of them for the full length, and to be honest I zone in and out if I'm finding the content less than thrilling, or so I thought. I've started to revise that thought. Maybe I zone in and out on websites because they aren't interactive enough. This is both a very exciting and terrifying thought. On one hand it means we are moving to a point in our evolution as digital society where we have developed to the point where having our voices heard, through any medium is in some way fulfilling. On the other hand, it just means that maybe I'm a whiny self-indulgent jerk, or pathetically lonely, and I hate that. I hate that. It's not how I see myself, and its not how I want to see myself. But self-doubt can be pervasive, even among people who are unemployed and thousands of kilometres away from their real lives, while they send out hundreds of applications on a global scale and never receive as much as a rejection letter, let alone a job interview.

 

Self-doubt, which I'm told is a natural part of the human existence, does have some positive effects. You really focus on your strengths, when you place your self-worth in a vat of sulphuric acid. Plus, the upside is that those weakness you've been working on aren't being corroded. But a strength for me would be my ability to think. I take a lot of enjoyment out of thinking and I have since I was a very young child, trying to imagine a better Mega Man 3. Anyone who has played Mega Man 3 would already be aware that you can't build a better Mega Man 3, it's perfect. That didn't keep my five year old brain from trying. As time went on, I started thinking about other things; things that I felt would be important to know. I started focusing on big ideas of importance to society. I read Machiavelli's The Prince and Rousseau's Social Contract. I started looking for the answers to a problems that plagued people since long before Plato published his Republic. I was a young teenager then. So clearly, I didn't have any friends then. Or at least no friends I couldn't debate the solution to all man's ills (I was pretty sure it was Communism at the time.) So you should be getting a good idea why I'm both interested in democratisation and in connecting with people on the internet.

 

What is incredible about these online shows is that through this very minimal human interaction, one starts developing genuine human affection for the people that exist in front of this one way glass. Despite this affection, in reality the degree of interaction in many cases doesn't really extend much further than trying to have a conversation with your television. Now, the reality of producing an online show simply doesn't allow the production teams for these shows to have genuine human interaction with everyone who writes a comment. I've been probably more fortunate than most for this. I've had my comments, which are often convoluted and long winded, been read aloud on a number of different online shows. I've received a lot of direct comments from various video moderators and even more likes. Even more from everyday people, which strikes me as an interesting dichotomy, that one should value the comments of someone on camera more than the comments of those who are off camera. Maybe its the effect of seeing someone's face regularly, but I digress. In my running as a commentator on online articles, I have had a really good track record of lifting the level of the discourse-- even if just for a moment. Sometimes I write five hundred words and it is ignored, or even people complain about the verbosity of the piece. I get why. Not everyone is in it to solve all the world's ills. Hardly anyone is, I'd suppose. The fact that I can't let go of this childhood dream says something about me that I cannot exactly place. Despite my understanding that every comment cannot be itself commented on, I think we have two sorts of participation. On one hand we have those programmes that ask for participation, but use it in almost a superficial way, or not at all. Then we have those programmes which use user participation to help build the content. The first have a habit of creating an illusory feeling of collaboration, because the user content is generated but often not utilised. Over the long term it creates a feeling of alienation, as users increasingly feel as if they are talking at a television, rather than a person and this human affection developed is turned into a resentment as the appreciation for the other's presence is increasingly evident to not be mutual. This said, I am not blaming shows of the former category or singling them out as bad. But the dangers of superficial participation as a programme element could lead, hypothetically, to viewership fatigue.

 

It is easy for me to sit back and make comments like this. Making any show regularly is hard work and I do appreciate the endless efforts of these various shows to provide people like me with free entertainment. Truth be told, I just wanted to document these thoughts. It was keeping me up at night and it frustrates me to no end that people aren't talking about this sort of thing. The gamer population has been passive for far too long, and I believe this to be no small part of the reason for our negative reputation. Surely, with our combined intellect, we are strong enough to reform our public identity and show the world that we have the moral backbone to make our own decisions for ourselves, rather than perpetuate this image of ourselves that we are dependent on the good fortunes of others. We can think for ourselves, we have the brains, and that means we can think about our world-- our digital world, and not take everything as if it were coming via feeding tube. We are better than talking at our televisions. We don't need to be this crazy old person who doesn't understand our technology.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I hope it made you think. I hope that in laying my thoughts bare before you that you were able to feel a connection to me as a person.

 

Sincerely,

Verenti

Has anyone else noticed the new "The Bureau" premise doesn't make any

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Is it just me? How can we have an X-com origin story set thirty to fifty years before Xcom? I mean, in that latest develop walk through, the word intelligence was said so much, that I was assuming that the speak was using the phrase to power an artificial heart. Let's just lay out all of our cards on the table:

 

In the 1960's aliens invade. In this invasion, we can see from screenshots and videos that Xcom agents develop new weapons and technology based on alien tech. Presumably, the laser technology is, like in Xcom proper, a human invention. I will also assume that we've done some autopsies in this time on dead aliens.

In 1999/2012, when the aliens invade for a second time, we have no technology gained from the aliens and know nothing about the alien threat. Furthermore, this widespread alien invasion was completely covered up, and the US government didn't feel it necessary to alert civil society to the threat of aliens. Perhaps also not other governments, which might have been a move to end the cold war and unite humanity in a singular purpose. Not only this, the new Xcom commander in 20XX, nor their people have any idea about the aliens. Because the bureau apparently, despite being the same organisation, decided not to share the most basic knowledge about the aliens with... themselves?

Even if the alien technology deactivated or ran out of the un-synthesisable E-151, one can persume that they would just throw away autopsy reports.

 

In the end the whole scenario just reminds me of that one sketch about aliens from That Webb and Mitchell Look. Why would America hide the truth from the world about an alien invasion? "Well, it's just something governments do."

Bioshock Infinite Disected

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Many people think Bioshock Infinite is the second coming of Jesus (get it?). However, I found the game to be rather disapointing and the more I explore Bioshock and it's world and reflect on the game, the more I find the game to be lacking. In the next week, I hope to write a review that really gets to the bottom of why this game, while being an effective game, is not necessarily a good one.

This review will also be referencing Red Letter Media's various Plinkett reviews, because I think the points raised by a number of those reviews, particularly Star Wars Episode I and Titantic and Avatar really bring out a number of the problems with this game. Not least of which is that Bioshock Infinite is meant to be an experience. It gives us amazing and imaginitive vistas and presentations, but leaves us with precious little story to tell on the set pieces. This is a shame because the original Bioshock had a rich society, which left the player to ponder the actual morality of a world in which, as put in Star Trek's 'Return to Tomorrow', Human capacity outstretched Human wisdom. Even the pyschopath doctor, who you'd expect to find in a horror movie, has a sympathetic side when you realise the weight of the potential of ADAM. Despite Bioshock Infinite's showing you an intact society, you get much less impression of the setting or the characters.

I get the impression that Bioshock had people talking a lot about the underwater city. So they figured that they would make the next visuals more fantastic, and hired artists where they previously hired writers. Columbia looks fantastic, but when you can describe the factions as fascists versus communists, and give an accurate impression or the political and social make up of the flying city, it reveals the shallowness of the game world.

Anyhow, I don't mean to give a full review here. These are a few of my criticisms about the game, and hopefully in the next few weeks, I'll be able to post them all here.

Gender Issues, revisited

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Gender issues are a tricky thing, mostly because one side always feels like the other is pointing a sword at them. This is why when one side raises issue with the other, that the side raised against feels like this is a personal attack. I used to feel like this, recently. The problem was the issue was never put into a language I could really understand or appreciate. I had no frame of reference to accept the argument as legitimate. This might sound strange, but if you allow me I would like to walk you through it.

 

I think it is problematic that we define men and women as two separate and opposing entities. This might be my own socio-economic-gender perspective, but as a white middle-class male, I tend to view the world in universals. I don't identify myself as white, middle-class or male. I am a human being, and that is the way I tend to view other people. Until they start self-identifying themselves as different groups, often at odds with my conception of "white middle-class male" humanity. I don't mean to offend anyone with this statement, but there is a saying that the "slave identifies with their chain". That is to say that those who find a dimension oppresses them tend to gravitate around that dimension and its issues. Having my background, I find myself rather seldom oppressed, and yet I can find grounds to sympathise with those whose backgrounds afford them less latitude to pursue the lives the wish to pursue.

 

This white middle-classed male background nurtures a certain Kantian world view. I was talking about universals earlier, so naturally Immanuel Kant's writing would appeal to such a person. The problem with this is those who identify themselves as oppressed do not assume the ideology of the enfranchised. This is why Marxist thought is so prevalent, even twenty years after the fall of organised political "Marxism" as a global order. I realise you could debate Gorbachev's Soviet Union as following the ideas of Marx. It's actually quite absurd if you're talking dogmatic Marxism, but that's not the point. The point is that I can't understand, and I don't want to understand an ideology that makes me an "enemy". The middle-class ideology has no problem with hierarchy. We need hierarchy: we are the middle. Our truth is that people exist below us, but they also exist below us. Our truth is that there is no equality, only freedom. We are not prone to compassion as a group, because suffering is a part of life.

 

So, when someone comes in front of us and says "we have it bad" or "here is a social ill", our response is to shrug. Either they will be strong enough to pull themselves out of their problem and they will climb the societal ladder or they'll fall. This isn't a cause for intervention when you believe in hierarchy. So when Gamespot editor Carolyn Petit reviews something like Papo & Yo or Cart Life, something inside me goes "here we go again". Which is a shame. I think Carolyn is doing good work, and I think she need to keep on pressing those issues in the game that advocate social improvement by understand and coming to terms with complex issues. I don't like her often bleeding heart stance on the issues, but I can appreciate and encourage it. It's importance that we as a large group within the gaming demographic, the enfranchised demographic, be conscious of the problems facing some of our challenged fellows.

 

The change for me from defender of the middle-class to a more genuine universalist position was the work of Martha Nussbaum. In short, Ms. Nussbaum is also a Kantian and she placed the issue into our mutual language. You see, I too have a chain. It is a chain no-one would sympathise with if I ellaborated on it, but it would rule my life if I allowed it. I too have built my life on some dichotemy between me and not-me. I too would like a better world, in which I could thrive. Martha Nussbaum explained to me in terms that she views Feminism in terms of human flourishing. She wants women to be able to live to their fullest potential and not be held back by societal constructs. That's not a zero-sum Marxist argument. That is what I want for myself too. How can I deny someone that which I want for myself, without constructing a reason for someone to deny me as well? That is a universalist statement. All people ought to be able to live to their fullest potential without external interference. That's how the Feminists won me over. Because when we build our society out of the strongest material possible, we prosper as a whole. We fufill our potential as a species, and with that we can do truly great things.

Scepticism and the PS4

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Now, you might not know me: god knows I'm more active commenting on GS uK's content than anything else here. I write blog posts now and then-- if you don't count my three page responses to some one off joke someone makes about on a topic I care about. I believe on talking when I have a reason to talk, and I think the PS4 announcement is a reason to talk.

You might not know me, but I'm a cynic. I ask a lot of unreasonable and long-winded questions. I'm sure we all know the type. I don't do it to be annoying, I just notice things. I notice things and then they start to bug me; they seem out of place.

Boy, the PS4 looks great doesn't it? This is the point where you say Uh oh.

As anyone who has ever done any modding knows, creating graphical assets is a pain in the backside. Now, I'm not entirely incompetent in the area. I've created a 3D model of a Gundam torso once, and I'm not foreign to the use of Photoshop. Despite this, I could never create a 40 kajillion polygon animated head to take advantage of the PS4's technology. No one is saying I ought to be able to. But it is distressing that game companies say their products like Alan Wake and Battlefield 3 are unmoddable, especially since both of these games have mods.

At what cost? I don't mean this in a sort loss of innocence, but in financial terms. What does it cost to produce top grade visuals in games? Where is this money not going? In the PC gaming world, gamers of certain genres have been acutely aware of a conflict between graphics and content. In other words, you might call it style and substance. How much game is being cut, to accommodate for ultra-high fidelity dragon faces, which we don't even see in the heat of gameplay. Maybe it's just me, but I don't stop and look how much detail the models have, when I'm running for my virtual life. You can't notice that detail, because in order to be functional, your brain needs to abstract the data. You stop seeing the man in the blue jacket and pants with the moustache and a golden badge holding the black pistol, and you start seeing a cop, and you don't see the cop for long because you start running because he's shooting at you.

I didn't watch the live cast or all the stage shows, but I heard an idea passed through a few of them. The idea was the previous generations of consoles bridled developers, because the technology limited them. Now, David Cage is no longer bridled, because he can create anything he dreams... if he can create it. But does this make sense? I don't know the specs on the PS4, or how they stack up to a standard gaming PC, but my impression is that the PC already provided unbridled potential for development. But is it truly unbridled? We heard all about how the PS4 will liberate developers from previous gen tech, but has it become easier to develop content? This ties back into my previous point, but I think it's a fair question. If not, then is not the expectation to build these gloriously beautiful games in itself a bridle? If they are developing cross-platform and cross-generation games, are they not still bridled by the old tech? Sure, they can use better textures and better lighting effects, but are we to believe that they are going to develop two sets of models: one for the previous gen's poly counts and one for the new gen's poly counts?

I'm a PC gamer and in the next gen, if I buy another console, I'm likely going back to Playstation. So I might be approaching this from a PC gamer's perspective. But what could be accomplished if the next gen didn't embody sexy new graphics? What if they took all that unbridled power of the PS4 and took it to developing deeper, more sophisticated systems and worlds? What if instead of being able to see every imperfection in a character's face, we are able to see entire living, breathing, digital ecosystems that gave a deeper immersion and sets the imagination afire, like they did before, once upon a time, when we as kids sat around and dreamt of what we could do in games and not how they looked like. So I ask again, these graphics, at what cost?

Addendum

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After posting that last entry, I had a few more thoughts about Gamespot, and the Games media's role in this. Here's my addendum.

A couple weeks ago during on Battlefight feature during a fit of insomnia, I asked in the chat, essentially, why were all the gamespot video staff playing videogames almost daily, to which I believe Jess McDonell replied "because we like games". At the time I felt this answer was wholy unsatisfying, as I presume that prior to putting up a thousand LP's per week that they still liked games. Anyhow, I think it's amazing that they like games to write about them and live with them as they do, but I wish they would like games enough to want to make them better. Right now, we've allowed our publishers to grow cancerously into a psuedo monopoly, as they compete in a moral race to the bottom. Maybe I'm living in my own little Sorkin world, but Gamespot: you are the videogame media. You don't exclusively hold this title, but you have an incredible amount of power. You could (and to be fair, there are editorial articles here that don't pull punches) do much more in telling people when the industry is doing something badly. You have the ability to shame people who aren't bringing their A-game. In bringing all its money, the publishers should be producing unparalleled works of art, but instead they've castrated them. You should be latching on to their collective metaphorical throats and not let go until they've agreed to do their jobs. That none of us knew that Aliens Colonial Marines was garbage until the release is shameful, if you had any idea before hand. It is, because you let them come on and sell their products, which you, hypothetically, knew was trash. Why didn't anyone call them out before this? Why didn't the producers and the developers get confronted with the facts before hand? Loss of advertising budget? If you started asking actual hard hitting questions, do you think you'd lose readers? If you became a fully creditable source for video game news, beyond re-reading press releases and news leaks, do you think people would be less loyal? And if you did attract more readers, do you think that the advertisement slots would stay empty out of spite? You already are half way there to demanding accountibility, because you're already demanding accountability of your readers by shaming them on Feedbackula. Why not do this to the other side too?

A Struggle between art and commerce. . . and art is getting its ass kicked.

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Now I'm sure we all have friends who like Aarin Sorkin. Unfortunately for my friends, I'm that person for them. Aarin Sorkin is often accused of living in a liberal-fantasy world, where he writes up clever arguments for him to win. This is not entirely unfair. He makes a good point as well. One point he articulates very well the idea that there is a struggle between art and commerce. You can catch this monologue in the pilot of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, or in a link to youtube at the bottom of this entry. I've been arguing around this point for months now, on various articles here at Gamespot and beyond, but I never had the point articulated quite like this.

In the world of videogames, we put up with a lot of crap from publishers. From DRM, to microtransactions and DLC packs that would have been released as a free patch, had they been released 10 years ago. Our games are mainstreamed and shaved down until they are bland prepackage garbage, that if this was food you encountered on the supermarket, you wouldn't look at it twice. Publishers, the ones with the money are so afraid that they're going to lose money that they have cut out all innovation and ingenuity because it's too risky. If anything deviates from their formula for success, it gets shot down. Art doesn't live when it runs according to a formula. That is why we criticise artistic works as being forumlaic. Even when cooking, we don't like formulas. We like food that tries something new. We like trying cinnamon in our stirfry or jalapeno cheese with crackers, after all, variety is the spice of life. My point here is that even in something like cooking, where we like recipes to tell us how to cook a new dish, what makes a dish special is the unique twist we bring to it. That little thing that makes it your own.

We don't cook like this in the videogame industry, because the chef is no longer in control of his kitchen. Some corporation who knows nothing about food bought the chef and his reputation and tells the kitchen what to sell, and in what style based on focus groups and market research. Instead of the food being something special between the cook and the diners, we've allowed an invasion by some grotesque corporate superstructure. Why? Why would we allow this? Because we've allowed the dollar to be the bottom line. "Well, a game has to be profitable. They have to make money too." That is such an unbelievably lame excuse. A game should not be foremost profitable. Profit should be a reward for doing a job well, not the raison d'etre of the games industry. We run around calling ourselves a capitalistic society, or saying that we love capitalism. A secret? People HATE capitalism. Ask any number of people what the most important thing in their lives are. How many do you think would say "money". How many do you think would say the acquisition of wealth is more important than family or love or passion? Money is important. Money is important to us because it is a means to getting things we want, such as supporting a family. Therefore, Capitalism is justified because it allows us to earn a lot of money quickly, and then spend our free time on other things. That is why capitalism is tolerated, because it is useful. It is not by itself good. In fact, before liberal democracy and its pluralism tempered it with socialism, it was downright monsterous. The Columbine Mine massacre and Ludlow Massacres come to mind, where machine guns (the mounted kind) were used to disperse protesters. That and Charles Dickens novels.

 

I'm not suggesting that we should overthorw the capitalist order, but that also can't be who we are. We can't be "capitalists". We have to be fathers and brothers and husbands. There has to be more to life than the acquisition of wealth, and there has to be more to our art than that as well.

 

Here's the transcript from that opening scene.

"TOM (as the President)
My fellow Americans. Im here to speak to you tonight about a very serious subject. My legacy. Legacy is a 480 SAT word, which turns out, does not mean a woman with nice legs. As in, uh, Paula Zahn. Primo legacy. No, my friends, legacy means the impact one leaves-

WES
Oh, stop this, stop this. Lets stop it, uh, Tom. Look.

. . .
Uh listen fellas, were gonna stop it.

. . .
No, were live. Id like both of you to clear the stage, I dont want anyone to think you were part of this. Clear the stage, go on. Go on, go on. Ah, this is not going to be a very good show tonight. And I think you should change the channel.

. . .

Change the channel, go on, right now.
. . .
or better yet, turn off the TV, okay? [now live] No, I know it seems like this is supposed to be funny, but tomorrow youre gonna find out that it wasnt and by that time Ill have been fired. No, this is this is not this is not a sketch.

. . .

This show used to be cutting edge political and social satire, but its gotten lobotomized by a candy-ass broadcast network hell-bent on doing nothing that might challenge their audience. [JERRY motors into the control room. WES continues live.] Were about to do a sketch that youve seen already about 500 times. Yeah, no ones gonna confuse George Bush with George Plimpton. Yeah, we get it. Were all being lobotomized by this countrys most influential industry thats just throwing in the towel on any endeavor to do anything that doesnt include the courting of 12 year old boys. And not even the smart 12 year olds. The stupid ones. The idiots. Which there are plenty, thanks in no small measure to this network, so why dont you just change the channel? Turn off your TVs, do it right now, go ahead.

. . .
A struggle between art and commerce. Well, theres always been a struggle between art and commerce. And now Im telling you art is getting its ass kicked. And its making us mean, and its making us **** Its making us cheap punks. Thats not who we are! People are having contests to see how much they can be like Donald Trump?

. . .

Were eating worms for money. Who wants to screw my sister? Guys are getting killed in a war thats got theme music and a logo? That remote in your hand is a crack pipe. [monitors] Oh yeah, every once in a while we pretend to be appalled-

. . .

Pornographers! Its not even good pornography. Theyre just this side of snuff films. And friends, thats whats next because thats all thats left.

. . .

And the two things that make them scared gutless are the FCC and every psycho religious cult that gets positively horny at the very mention of a boycott.

. . .

These are the people theyre afraid of

. . .

This prissy, feckless, off-the-charts, greed-filled whorehouse of a network.

. . .

And youre watching this thoroughly unpatriotic Mother-"

 

http://youtu.be/1INS1Rp3o9M?t=5m11s

 

Thank you for reading.

MIsogyny and Gaming

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From a post I made recently here at gamespot:

 

"Okay, gamers. We suck at the whole gender relations. In fact, there was an entire episode of Feedbackula dedicated to how much we suck at it. I've never supported censorship, but WOW, we as a community should not be allowed to talk on this subject. Some of the opinions here have been spectacular examples of the sheltered lifestyles we have as a whole. Wow.


I actually don't know why I'm posting this, as I'm likely to just receive flak for it, but come on. Firstly, it's not pandering to women to make female leads, as some people here have suggested. It's pandering to boys to never create women leads. Second, maybe a lot of women don't play Gears of War, but instead of using this as an excuse to create a shrine to machismo, we should be asking how to get more female gamers to play these games, if only so you can share your Gears experience with a wider female audience. This is me trying to sell the concept to you. If you make it a game that girls/women want to play, please no crude gender stereotypes, then maybe you can get one to sit down and play the game with you (I will note that the only time I played Gears of War, was when a female friend of mine in University introduced it to me. Irony.)


As a long time gamer, let me say to you the stigma on gaming, and oh my lord, there is one. The stigma on gaming is entirely our own fault. Us and the industry. That when I go abroad and tell my non-gamer friends that I miss my PC, and the looks I get-- or when I've introduced my previous girl friends to gaming, and showed them that they all aren't... gears of war, has been a real up hill battle. Because our society thinks gaming is for adolescent boys, and that's a real shame. I think they're wrong. When Simpsons had the line "These games are for 14 and younger. If you are older and play videogames: get help" I rolled my eyes. But they have these prejudices because of the way we act. We are hurting ourselves.

 

I realise that many of the people here are actually teenagers or younger, and I think there should be some allowance for young people to grow into being the people they should be. God knows, I likely talked like the very people I'm chastising here when I was their age. But everyone can think of a million reasons not to change or why a good thing ought not to be done. What we have to do is just throw those reasons away, and do what is right."

Craftsmanship

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They say heroes are creatures of times of chaos. A hero is neither welcome nor suited to peace. Therefore a story of heroics must also be a creature of chaos. Courage and Boldness are important to periods of chaos, because they are also the instrument in ending them. Words to remember in this time of global economic certainty.

I'm not some prophet. It's well known in economic circles that risk-aversion leads to poor economic growth. Risk-seeking behaviour isn't much better. Risk-adversion has seized the major publishers of the gaming industry today, which is ironic, considering it's good sense in entertainment to take risks. People are exciting by cutting edge products, and so by avoiding them to do more of the same, a publisher is arguably taking more of a risk. You see, it's good business, but bad craftsmanship.

We are excited-- inspired, by the bold new designs coming out of the indie industry these days, and they seem to be laying the groundwork for their future successes. Successes we seem all too happy to fund for them. We have seen in the past years a few well-crafted titles coming from publishers, but not enough. They aren't doing enough to excite us and, when you're in a story-telling medium, that's a problem. When I was a kid, I remember looking at long-dead magazines and dreaming what a game would play like and what I could do in it. Mostly it fell short, but those became an ideal for games for me-- they became something to aim for. I wasn't alone in this, there are plenty of other people who dreamt of that perfect game. I'm not by trade a game designer, but I know I have mine. Like a strategy game where I could lead a small civilisation to an interstellar empire. It's a dream, and I'm not alone in dreaming.


Peter Molyneaux, Chris Roberts, Will Wright. These designers, and many more, had similar dreams. And even when falling short of those dreams they still aimed at them. They put love and care into trying to make that which is ethereal into the stuff of our reality.

That is not good business. Reality forces us to compromise, but no one is inspired by pragmatic business decisions. Pragmatism begets pragmatism, and what's best for me, isn't opening my wallet for COD BLOPS X: Ultimate Fighter's Edition TURBO. The last thing Megacorp Publishers need or want is pragmatic consumers. They should seek to inspire us, to act boldly in face of economic downturn and laugh in the face of uncertainty!


They need to take risks and not cut corners. They need to give us the games we want and need to play and not the ones they can sell to us.

Verenti

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