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Propaganda Games

They’re on the rise! First, let me tell you what the word propaganda means. Besides being used to make a piece of writing sound intellectual or fancy, the word propaganda actually means something. I will tell you a more simple version than the definition Wikipedia has and hey! You don’t have to click on a link and start a new page to know what it means. It’s the use of information, true or not, to achieve a goal mostly unnoble. Before, it was up to people to decide whether to dismiss something as a propaganda. Some might find labeling things as propaganda offensive. Some might not. What I care about is painting a whole group of people as good or bad. Yes. This still exists and yes this has got a big appeal in video games despite majority or minority not agreeing with whatever message a video game is trying to convey.

Current Theme: The War on Iran

Battlefield 3 and Arma 3 are some of the video games which use the war on Iran as a theme. I haven’t checked yet but it doesn’t need guessing that those stinky racist lobbyists have something to do with the finances of such games. Regardless of how bad the Iranian government is, how oppressed and poor the Iranian people are and how wrong for the Iranian government to have its own nuclear program (even though it’s right for every other country) Nothing justifies killing. Nothing justifies demonizing. Would Americans like it if a big companies as the ones that made Battlefield and Arma made a game where American people are the bad guys? Then why accept this? A video game that has you think those poor, oppressed and UN sanctioned to bones deserve to die because they have a satan of a government? That evil government is theirs. Not yours! It’s up to them to keep it or get rid of it. Until they actually use that nuclear weapon, how about you stop demonizing them? Also, what makes you think the Iranian populace are in favor of their governments indoors and outdoors policies? Do you realize there are millions of outspoken Iranian critics and opposition members out there? Bottom line is, no game should make it okay to kill a human being.

Racism, hate and mainstream games

This issue is deeply concerning because video games are very few in number and unlike books, movies and other industries, there are no alternative to mainstream games in video game industry. While we hear about a successful and high quality independent game from time to time, the number of indie games in which the quality matches that of a high budget, made in a big studio one is very small. It’s not political correctness to advocate equality. It’s not political correctness to ask to stop demonizing a group of people in the media based on their race, religion, sex and sexuality, ethnicity, views and other things. To allow this to continue to happen is the same taking part in the act. While I consider myself a fierce defender of free speech whether in the form of a book, film, song or a video game, I find games which promote war and killing to have exceed what’s known as the right to expression and “entertainment” and become incitement and a call for violence.

Thanks.

Sharing some of my favorite video game Youtubers

Because Citizen Media is the deal.

1. TheAngryJoeShow

Some people try to be funny, some try to be informative, some fail at both and some succeed! I find TheAngryJoeShow to be both funny and informative. I tend to agree with him all the time. 

2.Cryotic

Yep. I'm one of those who follow and idolize Cryotik! Not only he has a sexy voice and makes the most accurate observations, his channel is like a guide to independant games in the industry which is a great thing. He's also sweet and funny. 

I do follow other channels but I don't watch their updates regularly as I do with these guys. How about sharing yours?

What happened to me at Games in the UK

I posted this in the UK discussion board. 

I bought the last of us thinking it was a used copy. I was happy becuse I saw a sticker with the word preowned plastered on it. Later I found out that it was the season pass. I bought the real game for 42 pounds new and wanted to refund the season pass which I bought for 15 pounds. I haven't looked at the code so in my opinion I have every right to have my money back but they didn't let me. They said keys and codes cannot be refunded and that is also mentioned in their refund policy but I have not looked at the code so I don't know what it is and the guy was holding the paper with the code the whole damn time even after he printed the recite. So yeah I got ripped and this is a heads up.

The guy who works there was waving with the bill and the numbers and letters typed on it were too small for me to see. He never gave me the paper with the code until I paid 140 pounds. I think I have a right to be refunded. 

Why I stopped being a Metal Gear Solid Fan

Like any fan of the series, I got excited upon the announcement of the fourth game and decided I was going to pick up a copy as soon as they make it available where I reside and I did. I bought a PS3 at launch (which costed me $600 but mine is 60GB and backward compatible so its still okay) and a copy of Metal Gear Solid 4 later. Once I popped in the disc, I was extremely excited but that big excitement was soon to be turned into a huge disappointment.

The first thing I didn't like about the game was the lack of direction. While I'm perfectly aware that its a stealth game, it seemed to me as if there wasn't anything to do other than crawling from one point to another. Using the octocom to match the suit with surroundings didn't make it fun for me because as in the previous game, you still needed to crawl while in the octocam. Were supposed to play the game in many different ways. Wearing the octocam should allow me to move around as long as it matches the texture of the object which I'm using to hide. If my octocam cant copy the texture of that object then its here when I have to crawl. Sending the MK to look for items was cute but that wasnt something that would change the whole experience and only lasted for a short bit. The only segment I enjoyed in the first act was helping out Meryl's team. I found myself skipping most of the dialogue in codec because even though I'm playing as the legendary Solid Snake I was told what to do and why am I holding a gun. I was thrown in the middle of a warzone. People were fighting everywhere and I was chased by those rexes. But I felt all that was just the surface of a rather shallow pond.

The second act is where you witness more teams fightings and have to make your way to an office situated in the middle of a base. It was then when I felt the game was not going to get any better. The calls I got before each fight were extremely boring. Why should I know about a character who wasn't going to contribute to the story other than being a boss fight? Let alone the fact that each background story was very unrealistic and very boring. What happened to telling stories about how people ended up in wars from real life? Snake was still acting as if the whole thing was a new experience to him. He was out of character most of the time and they didn't try to explain it. They didn't even use well he got Alzheimer with the whole growing old package. I sensed a potential in the third act. It appeared to me as if Kojima was trying to include most common forms of stealth. Snake was told to wear a suit which miraculously made him look half his age. (or probably the effect of the gene that caused him to grow old) He was asked to trace a man whos a member of a gang. Of course if following a man was an easy thing to do they wouldn't include it in a video game. You do this while trying to avoid the many obstacles thrown before you as barrels, cars and policemen hunting for mafia members. I don't know what this part had to do with the whole story. Even if we did know the cause of all this mess, the nanomachines, there was absolutely no need for us to travel to different parts of the world. This isn't an adventure where you're looking for pieces to put together. Maybe we needed to put pieces of the puzzle but whether the cause of this is the nanomachines or not is not what the series is about.

Revisiting Shadow Moses in the fourth act ruined what I thought were nice memories for me. The place was completely deserted. There was no one there except for black thingies acting as guards; blocking your path with laser beams and exploding sometimes. So far I've been into chases which didnt feel like chases because I could put down the controller and wait for the cutscene to play and that's it, boss fights that were both pointless and dumb and sneaking in open big areas. I dont know what goes in Kojimas mind but he probably thought that making a video game was like filling in a set of blanks. What you write in the blanks? It doesnt matter. Its true that video games or Action/Adventure genre often has bossfights at the end of each level or act, chases and other conventions but not every game has to go down that road. For Kojima, making a video game was just about having those. Dont get me started on the ratio of gameplay to cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid 4. Unfortunately, the same goes to Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3. The gameplay in Metal Gear Solid series is almost nonexistent. Its a bland mixture of lazily designed levels, boss fights, chases, escort missions and gimmicks. Lets move on to the story of Metal Gear universe shall we?

The story:

I'm someone who have only played Metal Gear Solid games so if you see me writing anything wrong, feel free to leave a comment in the box below and I'll be happy to edit it later.The chronological order of the games is 3, 1, 2 and 4. So this is how it started; Big Boss the legendary soldier who later turned into a terrorist and was taken out by Solid Snake and thus he became the legendary soldier after him, was sent on a mission in a place somewhere in Eastern Europe. Metal Gear games often make reference to real life events as World War 1 and 2, the Cold War, the Afghan war and I'm not sure what else but these events have nothing to do with the plot of MGS series. They don't bear similarities nor they influence any of the characters in the games. The first Metal Gear Solid game was set in a time where technology was so far ahead that they could make suits that made you disappear. Back in 2005, no one could make such thing. The same could be said about high tech weapons and warheads used in Metal Gear Solid 3. Why set a game in the sixties when such things did not exist? Why not set it in a fictional time period? Does it even matter? No. Kojima could have simply avoided this by not referencing any event or mentioning the time in which the game was set in.

So Big Boss was sent by a group of people who work for the government, to stop the terrorists from launching a nuclear attack which could kill many innocent civilians. Once he takes out all the members of this terrorist group, he discovers that they were actually freedom fighters and were fighting for a noble cause. What was the cause? We don't know. All that we know is that the boss turned against the government after they took her baby boy (which we find out later that it was Ocelot). For now let's assume that The Boss wanted revenge because the government took away her child. The same scenario is repeated in Metal Gear Solid 1, 2 and 4. Though at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4, you learn that the bad guys Big Boss was fighting all along were the very people who helped him in his mission. If these guys work for the government and were repeating the same thing The Boss went through then theyre not the ones who started the cycle right? How come they're the bad guys then? Who were the people who took The Boss' son?

In many occasions, the games mention things about soldiers being merely puppets in a stage built and used by a group of influential people. Were well aware of our times warmonger's motives. Some waged wars for ideological reasons, others for imperialism and more power. Yet we don't know the motives of the Boss or Big Boss enemies. The games never really delve into the reasons why these guys have turned into bad guys.

There was no mention for the reasons that led to Solid Snake, Raiden, Big Boss and The Boss' defection. Besides the pretense, the games bombarded us with scenes which served no purpose other than complicating the plot because explaining everything eventually means not releasing the games on parts and the last thing Kojima wanted was running out of material for his upcoming Metal Gear games. It's a conspiracy theory series where you don't know the motives of either side of the conspiracy. The characters in the series are very poorly written. Even if I were to write about a character thrown in a situation similar to the one in Metal Gear games, he/she would wind up a million times more identifiable. There were attempts to show the difference between how Snake and Raiden handled the situation. They were both shocked when signs of the mission being staged were showing as objectives dying in a mysterious and similar fashion, coming across things that werent part of the mission (Grey Fox and Vamp) and finding out that the closest people to them were hiding things (Campbell and Rose). If someone sent you on a mission to take out the bad guys or retrieve the legacy as in Metal Gear Solid 3 and it might cost you your life. And during that mission you discover that they hid things or lied, would you trust them again?

Why did Snake decide to destroy the nanomachines? Why did Raiden decide to destroy the GW? Big Boss and the guys from MGS3 and The Boss and the legacy? Snake gave two long speeches; one to Otacon in Metal Gear Solid 1 and the other to Raiden at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2 about why should they keep fighting but we still don't know. You see giving long stretchy and vague speeches about believing in oneself and overcoming hardship hardly tells anything. These guys decided to become heroes and that's it and the nanomachines, GW, the legacy and the government are all beneficial for the people who made them. The games might tell the means in which the bad guys try to achieve their aims as kidnapping children, training them to become legendary soldiers and call it the S3 plan but it never explains why. The boss didn't stress much on the kidnapping of her son neither did Olga. Hell Olga was there before she even gave birth to her son. If not saving innocent lives who got caught up in this mess then what are they doing there? It's neither implied nor expressed.

Metal Gear Solid series uses the theme of a conspiracy theory without actually telling a story. The series is hollow. It's like having someone telling you to appreciate a play dough because of the of its many potentials but for you it's just a play dough no matter how you look at it.

My E3 Picks

Final Fantasy VX

I've been keeping an eye for this game ever since it was announced for Ps3 and I think that was four years ago. I read that this game was inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and that the story is about a couple who are also star crossed lovers. Another thing I love about the game beside the post apocalyptic setting and the story, is the new action based combat which is similar to the one in Kingdom Heart games. So to those of you who are fans of Kingdom Hearts series, rejoice. (as if you havent already) The combat in this game is action based by all means; Not only youre able to carry out a fight without waiting for turns as in other Final Fantasy games, you get to control characters who use different styles and weapons. Theres hack and slash, shooting as well as platforming. The 2013 E3 trailer shows scenes where prince Noctis' home is being invaded by enemy soldiers. It's time to escape for home is no longer a safe place to be for Noctis and his friends. Though this time, you wont flee the castle by simply fighting a number of battles, you'll be avoiding getting damage by the place as it gets destroyed and even stay out of the enemys sight if you want to. The trailer has scenes where the player stops for a moment to show that the whole game is running on real time. Watching some of the foes in Final Fantasy games make a comeback as the Iron Giant was great but watching the scenes where Noctis reminisce about him and his father was better. I can tell the relationships in this game aren't as shallow and theres great use of narrative (telling stories through gameplay) whether it's by Noctis being helped by his friends during battles or by Noctis and his love interest fighting together.

Bayonetta 2

The original Bayonetta was simply the best game I've played in the current generation. It's the only game I've played and beaten three times so far. The gameplay was highly addictive and quick based. The theme was stunning. The soundtrack, backgrounds, characters and everything about the game were a perfect ten. The only thing I didn't like about Bayonetta was the chase levels but that didnt ruin it for me because I could simply skip these levels in my second time through. Bayonetta was an easy game to get into. There weren't any lengthy tutorials and excessive exposition. Every boss battle was epic and unique. The entire game was unique because a female character with a strong sense of sarcasm is also rare.

I won't say I expect the second one to surpass the first because it's on the WII U and I hope we don't see any downgrades considering the system's limitations, and because it's hard to keep the success or hype going. I hope I'm wrong though and I'm still going to get it. We need badass women in games as Bayonetta and she deserves to have her own series and even if the graphics won't look as good as in the original (Which is the case)  I don't care. It still has a badass and funny heroine, epic battles and soundtrack.

X by Monolith

I admit I never liked Xenoblade or Xenogears and Im not a huge fan of mecha anime and games but this one looks actually cool. The trailer shows the main character as he roams in this big vast world with huge enemies. Theres so much going on in this big open world. Enemies flying above, enemies crawling on the ground. I felt the whole segment of the game was to demonstrate WiiUs capabilities.

Project Spark

This title is mostly known for being Xbox Ones Little Big Planet but for me it's nothing like Little Big Planet or Minecraft simply because of the graphics. They're not cutesy and they're not cube like so for those who want a game where they can create their own levels and characters without them always ending up like a stack or row of cubes, this is your game. I'll call these games the engine games because we get to create our own mini games in them, add textures, music files, create our own characters and share them with our friends. Who knows we might be able to sell them one day and release our creation as stand alone games. I can't wait to see the future of user created-content games. Here are more things developers could add to the genre: Allow us to make multiple characters, assign roles for the characters, role-play, be part of other users games. I know I sound like I'm asking too much but this genre of games is excellent. It's developers releasing engines and allowing you to create your own games minus other video game components.

Honorable Mentions:

Below

Below is the name of a creative title developed by an indie studio and published by Microsoft. Although the trailer doesn't tell much about the game or gameplay, I like the focus on art. For those of you who would like to see videogames with a focus on visuals and narrative rather than traditional ways of storytelling, you might want to check out this title.

Transistor

Is a title announced during Sonys E3 conference. The game uses 2D artwork but has 3D gameplay mechanics. You control a badass fiery-head young girl as she fights bad guys for reasons which remain unknown. I felt the song played during the trailer was too loud. It made it hard for me to listen to what was going on in the game. This title also focuses on visuals and presentation. If you're a fan of anime like me, and want more female characters in lead, then this might be the game for you.

WTF moment:

Plants Versus Zombies Garden Warfare

I'm a huge fan of Plants Versus Zombies. I've beaten the first one and I'm currently playing PvZ adventures on Facebook and you guys should check this out because it's cute and very challenging (limited number of plants to take with you in battles and you need to plant more every time you run out of them and you have very few planting beds) and I can't wait for PvZ 2 but this one looks like a joke. It's as if someone read my comments about how every game is being turned into a Resident Evil 4 and decided to make it. The plants dont look cute. The whole thing looks like a nightmare. I know it has zombies but to turn what used to be about strategy and planning into a mindless shooter is ew.

Extra Credits: Toxicity

Watching this episode of Extra Credit has encouraged me to write about what happened to me few days ago. I was posting my opinion about a game which has been just released. My opinion, which wasn't popular at all, got me into a rather ugly exchange with few users on one of gamespot forums. I tried to keep my posts related to the discussion as much as I could but I couldn't help but confront one of the guys who kept attacking me for having an unpopular view. I asked him whether he had anything to say other than the stream of insults he showered me with, calling me childish, a joke, emotional among other insults. He clearly didn't. I have to admit that during my nine years of being a part of this community, I've never experienced such thing until two days ago. Here's what happened for those of you who are interested in knowing the whole story.

How I ended it:

Well you sure have tolerance for people with opposing views. Saying negative things about something you like, an inanimate object as a game and not your mother, doesn't give you the right to attack other users. Whether there was basis for that opinion or not, nothing justifies insulting a person over a game. Second, all opinions should be welcome as long as they follow the rules and guidelines, none of the rules here state that a user has to have played the game before writing anything about it. Until that happens, I and other users shall continue to write what we think of any game. 

 

Grow up. All of you.

gamingqueen

I post here because I want to share my thoughts about video games. I post and read other opinions because I want to know more about video games. I'm not here to put anyone down. I'm certainly not here to make you feel bad about yourself or make fun of something you like. Even if I were, it's just a game and it's not an extension to you. It's not an extension to anyone's person. It shouldn't offend. You might have grown up in a family where everyone have their own opinions about things. Some like chicken, others like beef. It doesn't make chicken for those who like it any less nor does it make beef that. I believe the same applies to games. 

I wouldn't have brought this up if the attacks were coming from minors but to see that it's adults, who are supposed to act mature, resort to this kind of language to express their disagreement rather than minors, concerns me deeply. And remember, we're all here to talk about something we like and enjoy. So there's no need to insult others over a game. And like most things, if you truly love something, you wouldn't care about what others think of it. 

A Fitting

By author:

"A Fitting is a Kinect-based art installation that explores the relationship between cultural and personal expectations of body image. The game is an interactive theatrical performance where the player takes the role of a young woman in front of a large mirror, with an audience watching her in its reflection. The audience and the game itself prompts the player to twist, contort and bend his/her body in order to progress. Doing so receives approval from the audience and game, but at the cost of the players discomfort."

Source:

http://www.adittami.com/projects/a-fitting

I came across this while reading an article submitted by the two women who are working on the project on e-feminist.com. The point of the project is to minimize the effect of image conciousness and objectification in popular media, including video games, on girls. 

The Alex Jones Phenomenon

 

 

Link for those who can't see it:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aGAvjwQPCHE

 

  1. Say something stupid.
  2. Wait for reaction.
  3. Create buzz.
  4. Make money.

A reason I drew out this comparison between the two is of them claim that there's some sort of conspiracy to lie to Americans or I should say "preserve the status quo" and keep the industry a male dominant domain in Anita's case. Both don't support their claim whatsoever, keep saying stupid things without any basis and make a lot of money. 

Animated or Motion captured?

Was the dicussion I was having with my friend yesterday. I was leaning towards motion capturing because of the good ol' technology makes everything easier. Add to that the fact that motion capture technology depicts human movement realistically which is better suited for games with realistic style as Uncharted. Motion capture technology is cheaper, a time saver and always accurate. You won't look at an old game with motion captured sequences and think ugh the way characters move in this is so awkard. Animation on the other hand works better for cartoon style games and games where characters are expressive, you know, animated? Games with certain themes, artsy in other words. 

"Halo series uses animation"

For those who don't have a clue on what I'm saying, motion capture is the process of capturing movements and including them in games by attaching luminous dots to models or real people and have them act while a machine traces their every move. Animation is drawing characters in many poses and moving them fast until you see characters moving. My friend thinks animation is better (he's an animator himself lol) because he believes there are movements that are hard to capture with motion capturing technology. To me that's like saying real life actors can never be able to act some parts. 

"Uncharted series uses motion capture"

It's very likely to see a movie or a video game where the two methods are used. A good example of that is older spider man movies. Almost all CGI sequences in those movies were animated because neither the actors nor stunt men could do the action scenes. Also because the producers thought the way spider man moves in animation is more smooth, faster and super hero-like and no human can move as fast as a super hero. Another film which uses both technologies for character movement is Berserk's movies. The entire battles are motion captured while the rest of the scenes are animated. 

Infidelity in games, a common theme?

A a great addition to the list of immoral things we do in games besides killing, stealing, battery (Grand Theft Auto series have all those) is cheating. I was shocked to see that I was the only one who reacted to Sera getting all dovey dovey with Noel in FinalFantasy XIII-2 despite being married. I used to call her a cheating whore everytime I walked into my sister's room and see her playing that. I mean is that okay? Of course it is. It's a f****** video game for god's sake. I know things didn't get physical between the two but the mere thought of looking at another guy that way is, I don't know. 

Final-Fantasy-XIII-2-Mass-effect-armor.j

"If he's hawt, I approve."

Another funny example is the smart phones video game In Your Arms Tonight, where you play as a wife who's been forced into an arranged marriage and end up living with a cheating asshole. But is that a reason to choose from a selection of handsome, rich strong men to cheat with? The game gives you the option of staying with your asshole of a husband and I'll asume trying to fix things but I'm too cheap to unlock the following chapter of the game or cheat with your boss, co-worker, bartender, former classmate and two other guys whom I haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet. 

tumblr_md3kqjV12r1rxi253.jpg

"He was bad at secks anyway!"

Whether you agree with cheating or not, I find it extremely interesting when games try to attract us consumers by featuring controversial themes. It's a great way to make us keep playing. I might actually pay for In Your Arms Tonight. Add to that the great artwork and well written dialogue which is far better than ones I've seen in cheesy romance novels out there. I'd choose this over plain old, overused good versus evil plot anyday. What do you think?