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Zero_Echo Blog

Questions? Yeah! I got Questions!

(Again, this blog is in desperate need of an Editor.)

[Relating to mass shootings that people are "supposed to care about, e.x. white on white crime, middle class on middle class crime, crime taking place in suburban areas.]

Increasing cases of mental disorders, exasperated by America's 21st century desire to over medicate and misdiagnose + parents or guardians that are either inept or uninterested in parenting/being involved in their children's lives + incredibly easy access to guns and ammunition = A much higher chance of atrocities like school shootings and tragedies like Aurora, CO.

VS

[Crimes related to the daily violence in large urban areas, involving people that are at or below the poverty line, minority on minority crime]

Much higher concentration of people + increased % of population dealing with illicit drugs, (crack cocaine, heroin, etc.) + easy access to guns and ammunition = A troubling, daily probability of gun violence and homicide.


I wanted to bring up these two differences in gun violence because I hope it would begin dialogue on what people mean when they say that video games cause people to act violently.

Do the people that consider video games and other media really believe that video games are the biggest reason that shocking, violent crime takes place? Do they not realize that mental disorders, social status, drug addiction, gang related activity could also be part of why it happens? Or are all of those issues too difficult to tackle, they need something that is tangible to blame, to keep responsibility as far away as possible.

Do the people that talk about defending the second ammendment care at all about big city crime? Deep down do they love when bad things happen to white people so they can scare up their stocks for a few months? They obviously aren't crying wolf in Philadelphia, LA, New York, and other large cities when there are dozens of murders weekly in those areas. Do they really believe that Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty are really responsible for all of that death?

The emotional response on both "sides" of this issue are predictable. One side cries for more gun/ammunition enforcement and the other cries that the constitution is being burned as we speak.

Ultimately, there is no right answer, but I would be much more scared about abolishing the first amendment, than a reevaluation of the 2nd.

Well Hey There!

(The Obligatory, I am going to be blogging more often, post)


It has been quite awhile since I posted on GS, busy with other things like kids, a job, and gaming. This "first" post will seem disjointed to those who come across it, mainly because of the suddenness of my desire to type out some of my late night thoughts and because I haven't come up with a concise narrative for all that I want to say. Bare with me reader.

The first part of the post (lighthearted part) will deal with what I have been doing the past year in gaming. Not that this will be an in depth look at games I've played, more like a quick compendium of the different worlds I've gone to. (It should be noted here, I have achieved my first platinum trophy, and second, and third.:D )

Notable Entries!

1. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection - It was fantastic getting back into MGS, and I had never picked up MGS3 for PS2 back in the day. It has become my favorite MGS, and this is coming from someone who thought MGS4 was Kojima's best work yet. (Platinum achieved)

2. NHL 13 - 'Nother year, 'nother payday for EA Sports. I am a very big NHL fan, and the changes that were made to the skating mechanics caught the ire of many fans of the series on the interwebs. I however welcome the changes they made to the skating mechanics. Now if they could just polish up the presentation for next year...and bring back Franchise mode. Seriously.

3. Borderlands 2 - Ah 2K Games. How I have come to love thee so. I really liked Borderlands 2 for my part, it was 'mostly' everything I thought the first game had been lacking, but in the end, it just felt more and more of the same later into the 2nd playthrough.

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - FLAME ON! CoD draws so much blind rage/love that it is hard to have a balanced opinion of the game. Is it a draw for pre-teens that love to curse at the top of their squeaky, unmatured voices? Yes. Is it a "wanna-be gamer" title every year? Yes. Does it still have solid, albeit uninspired FPS mechanics? Yes. Am I ok with all of those things? No. Aside from the multiplayer, I really don't delve much into the other modes in the CoD series. It long ago became a glorified "on-the-rails" shooter in my honest opinion, leaving less and less to the player's control in each consecutive title. All of that aside, I like this one more than any of the others.



Part 2! -Console Wars- War on Games -

Console Wars

It is getting closer. The dawn of the next generation of consoles is almost upon us. With that, the phantom war that is partly given life by "trolls" and partly by near-sighted, close-minded, "brand bootlicker" is rejuvenated. After years of posts like, "M$ sucks balls! Playstation Sucks! F*c* PC! etc." It is time for gamers to put aside "brand loyalty" and start thinking about "community loyalty." It is important to have competition, and if the market only called for a single system to play games I think that the gaming community would be worse off. But, blind loyalty/hatred for a specific hardware developer might make outsiders wonder about our cohesiveness as a community. Which brings us to part 2...

The War on Games


For as long as video games have been in existence, they have been targeted as "damaging forms of entertainment", "inspirations for violent crimes", "reasons for atrocities being committed on innocent civilians." The amount of news articles that are in the feed not only here on Gamespot, but around the web are slightly, to me, terrifying. The conversation unfortunately, is on the political radar, and politicians are giving up party beliefs, like personal responsibility, for ones that coincide with whomever is helping to keep them in office.

It is sad that the gaming community can't put aside petty differences such as what console/PC to use, so we could have our own response, not from a "industry" side, but from a "community" side to these people that continue to indirectly call us all violent, un-behaved, aggressive, threats, to normal "civilized" people.


P.S.

As I said in my opening, this post won't be a cohesive narrative, just the surface layer of things that have been mulling about. Next week, I hope to tackle next gen tech rumors that may bring death to "used" games. Second hand stores, borrowing a game to a friend, an entire piece of market share no more!?


What I'm working on....

Platinum Trophy for...

Lego Lord of the Rings

Far Cry 3

My 100% games..

Metal Gear Solid 3 HD

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale

Passive VS. Active

With 38 studios's new IP, Kingdoms of Amalur releasing this past week to mostly positive yet mixed reviews I thought I would take some time out of your day to have a commentary about it. It seems that most of the game's shortcomings to reviewers was its barely there, weak story.

In games, I have always been one that believes storyline can save a game when it is faced with shortcomings. Whether the shortcomings be technological, gameplay, character design, or even old age, I can usually warm to a game that has a great story. Most honest gamers know that they can still pick up early Final Fantasy titles, Zelda games from NES and Gameboy, etc. and still have enormous fun playing them again for the 30th time through. Storyline is so important in gaming due to the fact that it is an active medium, we take part in the stories we are playing, we do not still passively by as Ganon tries to take over the world, or Sephiroth burns down Nibelheim.

Lately I feel that games are becoming more and more passive in the way they tell their stories. For better or worse, I feel like most first person shooters, action games, even rpg's have more and more scripted sequences every time a new one hits the market. it is understandable of course because the writers/director/studio want to tell a specific story, and having the player daydreaming down some alleyway, climbing through some air-duct, or trying to smell the flowers kind of breaks up the flow. A lot of games (I'm looking at you Call of Duty) feel so "on-the-rails" as of late. Do developers, or gamers more importantly become so lazy that the former believes that the latter needs constant hand holding in order to move the narrative along? The action demands less and less of a players interaction so the game can tell its story, instead of becoming immersive, it can feel distracting. Story seems forced down our throats at times so we don't become distracted by the shiny buildings and particle effects.

I come at last to Kingdoms of Amalur. I've put about 20 hours into the game so far, tip of the iceberg according to my unfinished quest log, and I understand that the story may be lacking for some. But I feel like it is an active story. The quests are basically all of the fetch or target killing variety, but the individual stories behind each quest seem to be holding the true weight of the world. Sure, you can just blaze through the quest text, run to target, collect needed requirements, run back to quest giver and feel like the game world is shallow. But that should be a failing of the player, not the game.

I like how KoA doesn't shove a story in your face, screaming LOOK! DRAGONS ARE LIKE BURNING PEOPLE TO DEATH SOMEBODY SHOULD DO SOMETHING! It doesn't bore with narrative you wish you could skip through, though if you are a fast reader you probably will. It feels like a collection of short stories, than a complete focused narrative. Most quest givers give out a legitimate reasons for why they need your help, there hasn't been an instance of the game making me do something it wanted me to on my time, it feels freeing. I think it is a prime example that, sometimes the best stories are not the ones we are given but the ones we go looking for.

-fin

Corruption...

I didn't have a full grasp on how much I am reliant on my PS3 for entertainment, not just for me but for my wife and two year old. Imagine my pain when I have had 5 back to back days of "WARNING! YOUR HARD DRIVE IS CORRUPTED! RESTORING YOUR PS3 SYSTEM!"

Enough to kill me....ugh.

Playstation Network

Dear PSN,

I have missed you so much. A group of hackers took you away from me due to jealousy. I hated them. I was convinced that they stole you because they sucked at online gaming like CoD, Portal 2, and Mortal Kombat. They had a major Rage quit and killed you.

I'm glad you are back. Even after last night when your own subscribers crashed you with their need for a PSN fix, I still love you.

Welcome Back PSN. Welcome back.

The Final Fantasy

Aww Final Fantasy, I don't think that I have had as deep of a relationship with any other game series as much as ours. I started my relationship with you back when I was a pubescent wraith of a man, Final Fantasy 1 for the NES. My first foray into the world of Final Fantasy was short lived. I (at the ripe old age of 10) did not understand that you needed to kill monsters and grow more powerful before you could delve into the closest dungeon without being thrown out on your hind end. I loathed it.

Then in 1997 I revisited the world of Final Fantasy. In their seventh installment in the series we were treated to a deep, emotional, powerful story-line involving what first seems to be a small underground movement sabotaging the planet's vile Shinra corporation, both the world's global energy provider and ruling government. Once you finally finish the "prologue" of the game, you have probably spent well over three to six hours developing opinions and feelings about the stories cast. Once you get to the world map for the first time, your journey really is just beginning.

Final Fantasy 7 taught me, along with many others, that games don't have to be a shallow medium. The story of Final Fantasy 7 is what has held onto me for such a long time. Games can be more than just a hobby or past time. Final Fantasy 7 sparked my first real interest into writing, gaming, and film.

After Final Fantasy 7 though, my enjoyment of the series has faded away. Every iteration that has followed number 7 never has lived up to the potential that was set forth by it. I haven't touched Final Fantasy 13 yet, every other fan of the series that I know says it's a linear hodgepodge of cutscenes.

For me, Final Fantasy 7 will always be THE final fantasy. Everything that has come afterwards has fallen short of near perfection.

Playstation NotWork.

I am relieved to find out that soon PSN will be back up. I was never that concerned about the future of my main source of online gaming being under maintenance, though many of my friends were.

What bothers me the most is that they gave up so easily on Sony. Fanboys came out in full force in the days and now weeks since the attack, blaming Sony, blaming hackers, touting Xbox live as the "best network" around. I do own all of the current gen systems, and I actually have never been excited about Xbox live. The idea of paying for something I already get for free just grinds my gears.

I am now certain that fanboyism may ruin gaming for everyone. It's becoming as polarized as politics are. Meatheads and jocks for Xbox Live, and more civilized, players on PSN, from my experience anyways.