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Tomb Raider, the beginning of the end?

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After watching the trailer of the newest Tomb Raider game, I shouted: THAT'S NOT WHAT THE GAME IS ABOUT! As soon as the word "survivor" was on the screen. It's clear to me that Crystal Dynamics rendition of Lara Croft is the furthest thing from a tomb raider. Lady Croft, the British single woman in her late thirties who comes from an aristocratic family and has deep interest in archaeology, was suddenly turned into a survivor. And with that, the cycle of killing her off and reviving her and killing her off again continues.
Lara Croft first appeared in the original Tomb Raider game which was released on Sega's Saturn and Sony's PlayStation 1. The game was about a character who goes on adventures around the world looking for artifcats. After years of releasing Tomb Raider games, the publishing company wasn't happy with the how the recent Tomb Raider games turned out so it handed the project to a new team. And this is exactly when things started going wrong.
Crystal Dynamics' Lara Croft is tainting the character's history. The team has failed to come up with a character that matches the older games' in terms of personality. Here's why:

The lack of Identity

tr1
In the Tomb Raider games that are made by Crystal Dynamics, Lara's personality is similarly sketched to characters from games in the same genre. If a Tomb Raider game plays like Prince of Persia then Lara will likely to act like the Prince or if the game plays just like Uncharted, then Lara will act like Nate. This applies to the game's merchandise as well such as wallpapers with Lara in them posing like the Prince or Nate or any character in a game that is similar to Tomb Raider.

tr2The Sex Symbol

Tomb Raider has suddenly changed to Rogue Raider with scenes of Lara Croft stripping and spying and doing all kinds of things a tomb raider wouldn't do. It seems to me that the attention isn't equally divided on both Lara's personality and appearance because her character is still shallow in comparison to her looks. Most of the effort is exerted on making her look sexier and more attractive. Lara Croft is looking younger, edgier, has more shiny lips, bigger **** and sexier hips with every upcoming Tomb Raider game. In the trailer for the new Tomb Raider, Lara sounds like she's having an orgasm. Whatever happend to the calm, cool, confident Lara who always keeps her composure?
Would it be too much to ask for a female lead in a video game who isn't just a pretty face?

Drama Raider

tr3Looks like Crystal Dynamics have forgotten about the reason why Lara goes on adventures which is to hunt for artifacts. But that's not what she ends up doing in the games is it? The new Lara doesn't seem to be able to separate between business and personal matters. You see her shoving her personal problems down our throats with missions as saving her mother or friend or her goldfish. Has it ever occured to Crystal Dynamics that a plot can still be interesting without going into details about someone's family or friends?Specially when the title says Tomb Raider and not Drama Raider.
Why is it impossible to have a video game character who's doing what he's doing for no other reason than his or her love for what they're doing? As human beings, we don't choose what interest us because of people, we choose them because we like doing these things. I didn't choose to play video games because I can save my mom or make up with my childhood friend but because I like playing video games.
The cast in Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider is a whole different story. They say show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are. If Lara's friends are what she is then Lara is one of the worst characters to ever appear in a video game. It's quite unfortunate to see our goody good girl Lara befriending folks who don't share her eternal and flaming love for archaeology. It has never crossed her mind that the people whom she's been travelling with across the globe looking for junk since they were in diapers had ulterior motives.
So Crystal Dynamics, unless your games are aimed at children, don't write stories about a girl going on a journey to save a friend or a family member.

The Mainstream Lara

In order to make the games commercially successful, Crystal Dynamics often base the stories of Tomb Raider games on popular folktales and legends as King Arthur or the tr4Underworld. Not only they use the popularity of such stories, this also saves Crystal Dynamics the trouble of coming up with a new plot everytime they work on a new Tomb Raider. This is like watching a movie with Batman going one on one with Zeus because DC ran out of ideas.
Lara Croft has gone from a character who has once inspired millions of women and girls around the world to someone who follows trends. Lara, who used to be a trend setter, has turned into a Nate and god know what they make of her in future Tomb Raider games. It was uncharacterisic of Lara Croft to be listening to some track on an MP3 player after seeing her listen to clas-sical music in her mansion for years. It's sad to see my favorite character in a video game being turned into a marketing tool just so she appeals to younger generation of gamers.

With an online Tomb Raider game titled Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and a Survival Horror Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics continues to milk the success of one of the best Adventure games by making games with little tomb raiding to do and little to know about miss Croft.

On Used Video Games

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Not long ago, a court ruled in favor of a software company that sued a man for selling over 14.000 copies of its software online. The reason the man was sued was because he wasn't authorized to sell the software. The man said he was practising his right to resell his property under the First Sales Doctrine. It was mentioned in the verdict that the man has to have a license by the software company before selling any of the companies' products. A license means to have a company's permission to sell or distribute its products. License system was first found to protect consumers from buying none genuine, bootlegged or pirated copies. A License system also protects companies from taking any responsibility incase consumers buy unlicensed copies of a product and face issues in performance in the future.

Nowdays, video game companies include the word "RESELL" in the list of prohibited things on the back of game covers. If video game companies were trying to target retailers which buy used games from consumers, then those companies are already permitted to resell those copies seeing that they have a license to sell their new products. If companies were trying to target consumers then it's here when a consumer can defend their right to resell their property as mentioned in the First Sales Doctrine. What makes those consumers any different from the guy who has been sued even though they were both reselling their properties and they both didn't have a license?

The man sold over 14.000 copies of the software. The number of CDs sold is a number which an average person does not sell. Shop owners are the ones to usually sell that number of products. This suggest that the man started a business of selling a number of copies to consumers without taking permission from the software company. In addition to that, the copies of the software the man was selling were all made by the same company. Consumers usually buy video games from different companies rather than one. The average consumer does not sell used video games regularly nor does he/she sell a large number of products, therefore, the term business does not apply on the activity of persons reselling used video games irregularly and at small quantites.

Software companies often make profit when selling to authorized distributors. Once a retailer buys a number of products from a certain company, the product is no longer owned by the publishing company. Software companies actually don't lose money when consumers buy used games even when reprinting games because reprinting is a result of high demand for a product.

Exploding Video Game Myths

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As gamers, we keep hearing about other uses for video games besides entertainment. One of these uses is losing weight.

The myth was started with the launch of the successful video game series Dance Dance Revolution. Dance Dance Revolution, which is produced by Konami, is a video game that has you step on on a mat that comes with the game and perform a sequence of moves. These moves are shown on screen. The more you progress in the game, the longer and faster a sequence becomes. From the look of it, Dance Dance revolution is not your typical type of video game with swords and magic and a never ending collection of guns. The game is specifically designed to be used in that manner. Though playing hours and hours of the game doesn't guarentee that you'd become the world's greatest dancer. But that's all there is.

With the advancement of technology and the discovery of motion sensing, console makers were able to incorporate the said technology with "typical" video games, making them more than just video games. The three dominating companies have launched tools and devices which enable gamers to play video games without using controllers. Microsoft Corporation for instance, came up with Natal; A device that needs to be connected to the main console in order to play a game without a controller. And there was Nintendo, which was the first to add motion detecting technology to their products. Nintendo came up with the Wiimote, which is a controller in the shape of a remote control that allows gamers to control characters on screen just by waving. Sony has come up with something that might look different, when in fact, the only thing that makes it different is the ball on top of the wand that is called "Move".

One cannot deny the fact that motion detecting technology has contributed greatly to the industry but was it put to good use? Games that make use of this technology could be divided into two main categories: Games which can only be played by motion sensing devices, and Games which can be played without a motion sensing device. Among the games which can only be played by a motion sensing device are Fitness Games.

Is there such thing as losing weight through playing a video game? Is size small just few hours away once you buy a fitness game?

As a person who's concerned about her own fitness, I believe playing video games as a way to lose weight is inefficient for most body types. I think it's a waste of time, money and effort in case the game was made especially for that purpose. Why is that?

A single fitness game costs the same as a none fitness game. Add to that the price of the device which you'll use in order for the system to track every movement. A fitness game has a limited number of exercises which cannot be increased unless you buy the newest addition of the game or update it once an update is available online. The more you do the exercises as shown in the game, the more your body gets used to it. If you're already in-shape and your body is used to most of the exercises, then you're unlikely to acheive any result. The routine in most fitness games is not designed for different body types and health conditions. While it's true that the makers of most fitness games do consult experts but the fact remains that these games are made by businessmen. Furthermore, the content in most fitness games is accessible in other media besides these video games. A more varied, updatable and free alternative can be found in health and fitness magazines, TV shows, DVDs, channels for specialists and trainers in video streaming websites.

The price of a single fitness game equals a monthly subscription at your local gym. Moreover, going to the gym lets you meet more people, share and exchange your experience with them and form new bonds and relationships. Jogging around the neighborhood is an excellent form of exercise and is highly recommended for all body types other than it being less tideous and painful than other types of exercises. Dancing to your favorite songs and music videos is a great way to reduce stress and get in shape.

Many are the people who have acheived tremendous weight loss by the time they bought fitness games but it's not because they actually bought the games, but because they were motivated by them. What helped people lose weight was move around more.We're in a time where gaining information has become a matter of one search process. Info on exercises and routines, BMI, diets, amount of calories in food etc. can all be obtained easily, legally and for free. If paying a sum for a video game means you're buying a commitment then I do recommend buying fitness game but put in mind that you'd be willing to pay for something which you can get anywhere else and free of charge.

Unless subscibing at a gym costs a fortune, or gyms are nonexistent where you reside, and taking a walk outside could get you killed, then I don't think buying a video game is the wisest thing to do to in order to lose weight. Do you agree?

Attention Kuwaiti Gamers

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Since I'm a gamer and from Kuwait too, I thought I had to write a blog post about a place which has opened recently. The place seems to offer rental service for videogames in Kuwait which is a first. I don't think major stores that sell videogames in Kuwait offer such service as you can only purchase videogames from there. The place is called Digumz; Which is a Kuwaiti word for buttons. It's located in Salmiya, Omniya Complex at the Basement floor.

store

store2

store3

You can visit the store's page on Facebook for more info:

http://www.facebook.com/digumz1

I haven't been to the store yet. Personally, I can't wait to check it out and try their offers. The interiors looks stunning and modern. I'm very proud of the fact that Digumz is a local brand and I hope to see more branches soon.

How to increase replay value in Video games?

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What makes you want to play your video games one more time after beating them for the first time? How do you make sure that your money was well spent? And that you didn't waste it for few hours of gaming? And that the small amount of money you bought it for was better of wasted on something of a more value?

Replay Value in video games is one of the things I pay attention to when I'm about to buy a new videogame. I make sure that the game lasts for a good period of time but that's not the only thing that increases replay value for me. There are other things which make games replayable and these are:

1-Co-op:

Although I've never played any game online due to my slow internet connection but that's one of the things that makes me want to play any game again. Is there a better competitor with an A.I. that rivals computer's other than people? In addition to that, online feature in videogames makes gaming more than just playing a videogame. It's more like a social activity than a video game with people chatting and playing at the same time.

2-Unlockables and Rewards:

Acheivements and trophies are believed to be among the reasons why people would play their videogames twice. Sometimes, those online recognitions that come in the shape of trophies are more than just an icon on screen for everyone to see for you can exchange them with real gifts and prizes. Unlockables and rewards can be attained online as well as offline and they vary. Unlockables include additional artworks, audio tracks, outfits for characters, playable characters, levels, items and more.

3-Different Endings and Scenarios:

Have you ever gone through a game and learned out later that the ending you got wasn't the best? Or that the ending differs depending on the choices you make in the game? Most story-driven games include multiple-endings that have you view the storyline from a different perspective everytime you play them. As a person who enjoys stories in games and look for games with decent story-telling, I find this very rewarding and not only that, it gives more depth to the game over all as you learn more about thecharacters, settings, events and everything in the game.

4-Challenge:

Challenging games can be so unforgiving that makes you put off gaming or play them even more. Playing games in higher difficulties is rewarding for those who are always up for a challenge. Challenge in games is the main source of thrill. It's the part where one makes use of their own skills in a videogame whether it's by pointing out and shooting, puzzle solving or even button tapping! One can never get bored of testing their own skills.

5-Nostalgia and Emotional Attachment:

What makes you grab twenty year old games and play them despite having poor graphics and noisy sounds? Is it the gameplay? Stories? Catchy tunes or all of them? Old games that stood the test of time or games that have aged, til this day, we buy, collect and play those games. We do it either to recall special moments in games or relive the experience. There has to be a game that you've been completely engulfed by and you'd go back and play no matter what the year is.

So readers, what makes you play videogames after beating them once?

Tagged *ArmoredCore55 Edition*

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This blog is dedicated to my friend ArmoredCore55 and all those who have tagged me. Sorry for taking long to post a blog update. I'll try to be more active from now on. I hope you like my songs choice!

1. If someone says "Is this okay" You say?
Under The Bridge-Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
2. How would you describe yourself?
Creep-Radio Head.
3. What would you like in a guy/girl?
Grey Sky Morning- Vertical Horizon.
4. How do you feel today
Everyday Is Exactly The Same- Nine Inch Nails.
5. What Is Your Life's Purpose?
Good Riddance- Green Day.
6. What is your motto?
No Regrets- Robbie Williams.
7. What do your friends think of you?
Fix You-Coldplay
8. What do you think of your parents?
Let Me Be Myself - Three doors Down.
9. What do you think about very often?
Everybody Hurts- REM.
10. What is 2+2?
Halleluja- Jeff Buckley
11. What do you think of your best friend?
Wonderwall- Oasis.
12. What do you think of the person you like?
Head Over Heels- Alanis Morisette.
13. What is your life story?
The Otherside- Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

The Evolution of Turn Based Battle System

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I wrote this blog because of the negativity that's been surrounding turn based battle system in RPGs as of late and the abundance of complaints and moans which I find unjustifiable. As already I mentioned in one of the posts, it's a matter of preference.

What is a turn based battle system?
The name says it all. Turn based means that characters in role-playing games don't attack their foes nor get attacked immediatly. They wait for their turn to attack or perform any action from the options listed in the menu.

Pros:
-Less repetitve than Action/Real-time battle system.
-Strategic and deep.
-More varied since it allows gamers to choose actions from a list in the menu.

Cons:
-Slow.
-Less backgrounds.
-Unrealistic.
-Static.

How are turns determined?
Turns are determined by many factors. Many gamers mistake the consumption of ATB-which stands for Active Time Battle- and status of characters for being different types of battle systems when they're not.

Phase One: ATB:
The consumption of ATB is often used in RPGs that has turn-based battle system. It means, the time of characters' turns is when the ATB gauge is filled. ATB system is not an independant form of battle. It's an addition to the tun-based battle system.

In many games, the consumption of ATB varies for example, in Valkyrie Pofile games, ATB energy isn't only consumed by characters turns as it can be saved or wasted by other means such as the amount of ATB energy an action requires. ATB consumption depending on the action is also shown in Final Fantasy XIII.

Another way for a faster refill is through adjusting the mode in the options menu which is an advantage only few games have. In Final Fantasy VIII, gamers are allowed to adjust the speed of ATB by choosing "Active" or "Fast" in the options menu.

Phase Two: Status Aliments:
Status Aliment or Characters Status is also an additon to the turn-based battle system and not an indepedant form of battle. Status Aliment can effect characters' turns positively and negatively depending on the items equipped or the type of spells that foes/characters cast during battles.

There are spells/items that could quicken or increase the turn of characters and ones that could slow or decrease their chances of participating in a battle.


Phase Three: Action-turn based Battle System:
Action-Turn Based battle mode is a system which enables characters to move freely in the battle arena rather than staying in one spot. The point is to allow characters to avoid getting hit by foes and inflict more damage on enemies depending on their turns.

The difference between Action/Real-time battle system and Action-turn based is the ability to have battles and move around in more than one location. Action-turn based can be seen in games such as Valkyrie Profile and Star Ocean series.

Phase Four: A.I. in Turn Based Battle System:
Many Role-playing games that use turn based battle system limit gamers control over party members to a number of characters. But that doesn't mean the characters which gamers can't control in battles are inactive. Party members that aren't controlled by gamers are often controlled by A.I. This provides more challenge and makes the experience less predicatble and repetitve because gamers can't predict other characters' next move.

What do you think of Turn Based battle system?
Do you really think turn Based battle system hasn't evolved from the time it was invented?
Do you know about more phases that the system has gone through other then ones mentioned in this blog?

Team Ico's The Last Guardian and Erin The Beast Player

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Who did it first?

Anyone who watches the anime Erin The Beast Player/Kemono No Souja Erin can't deny Okami's heavy inlfuence on the anime in terms of art and presentation but one thing remains a puzzle. There's a striking resemblence in the story of Beast Player Erin and Team Ico's upcoming PS3 exlusive, The Last Guardian.

Erin

The Last Guardian

Both stories revolve around a human becoming attached to an animal of some sort and show the main characters as they interact with each other and overcome the hardships they face together. In addition to that, the design of both creatures is similar and there's a heavy emphasis on the setting and theme in both the videogame and the previously mentioned anime. Do you think it's coincidental?

The Beast Player Erin is an anime based on a novel that has the same title. It's written by Nahoko Uehashi who's best known for the popular novel and TV series Seirei No Moribito. The novel was published in year 2006 while Team Ico's The Last Guardian is yet to be released.

Judgement:

I think it's a pure coincedence. These kind of situations are very common among concept artists to a point that I would call it unavoidable. It's not surprising to spot out major similarities between art works that are done by various artists as chances that you have two people who are thinking of the same idea are high. Not to mention that it's very likely for ideas to be similar when the source of inspiration is one.

I'm a huge fan of Team Ico and a fan of Nahoko Uehashi and I welcome all sorts of good entertainment whether it's original or not. Enjoyment comes first.

Why should it matter?

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Hello

My friend linked me to a video on Youtube which talks about why women are a minority in videogames industry and the reasons he or his guest think female gamers aren't attracted to "hard core" games. As a female and as a gamer, I was furious at the video for many reasons and one of them is the inaccuracy. The video was missing alot of facts and I could tell just by watching that the guy who made it hasn't touched a single game of the games he labelled as "games directed to the male audience" Just because those games had one or two women with little cloths on them.

First of all, we don't care... really. Who gives a damn about whether a game was made by a male or female or a mutant? As a gamer and as a female, I don't care if a game was made by a man or a woman as long as it's good. Now, a game being good or not has nothing to do with gender. A good example of this would be Assasin's Creed which is a game that was produced by a woman. I detested the game even though it was made by a woman.

Does the fact that a woman made that game made me like it? No.

Was the reason I bought it because it was made by a "fellow female"? Hell no! I bought it because its setting and concept.

Who actually thought of buying Assassin's Creed or any game made by a female just for the fact that they were made by a female here? Share your opinion with us.

Second, since the guy who made that video used Tomb Raider games as an example of games which are directed to males, as a fan of the series, allow me to explain where he sinned. Eidos/Core has never relied on sex to sell TR games all the time Core was making Tomb Raider games. The posters that included naked Lara were some of the many postersCore used to promote for the game. There were many posters with Lara doing things other than showing her assets to lure male gamers. That was for marketting, as for games, none of the six first games had a single scene with sexual themes or nudity so Lara Croft wasn't really a"sex symbol" in video games until Crystal Dynamics were made in charge for Tomb Raider series. As for the size of her boobs, when Lara was first made, the designers made her too manly, so, in order to make her more feminine, they enlraged the size of her breasts. They probably overdid it but the point is, she was never meant to look "sexy" Last, the story behind Toby Gard dreaming of creating a sexy, attractive, beautiful female protagonist in a game wasn't true. Toby Gard was inspired by his little sister who was playing with water pistols and had a long braid. Toby himself isn't happy with Crystal Dynamics' version of Tomb Raider. Here's the difference between the two:

Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider

Core's Tomb Raider

I don't mean to come off as rude or anything but I really don't get why this genderissue matters. It's not like women in videogames industry will help increase the number of female gamers, let alone the fact that the gender of consumers is irrelevant to game companies because what matters to them the most is sales number and not the male to female ratio unless they plan to make games specifically for a group of people such as The Mother Game? Also, In fashion industry, the majority of fashion designers are males yet they make outfits which appeal to most women so hiring more "females" in the industry as an attempt to increase the number of females isn't really a solution. Women and girls not being attracted to games such as Halo or Prince of Persia *a big fan of prince or persia games here* isn't an issue either. It's all about preferences.

I have two brothers. My brothers are totally clueless when it comes to videogames and the only type of games they play is soccer games. I'm the one who buys consoles and play videogames religiously at home. None of my brothers bought a videogame and sat for hours to play it only because it had a naked woman in it. I find the notion of men willing to buy videogames with naked women and vice versa so offensive because it shows how marketers/game designers ridicule the mentality of gamers.

Dear readers, is there a reason I should care about the number of women in the industry or the number of female gamers?