Game of the Year Awards 2012
- Jan 28, 2013 11:49 am GMT
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I know this is a bit late, I meant to post it earlier but got caught up in other things (sorry). So what is this anyway? Well it's not quite what it looks like, these are not my game of the year awards but the awards of the Critical Path Podcast. Of course I was part of said podcast, but what I am stressing is that these do not just reflect my opinion but reflect a lengthy argumentative process full of compromise and personal defeats. The knock on effect being, I don't wholly agree with them all, but I stand by the choices and think we did a decent job. I welcome you all to critique our picks, but before you do so I would recommend you to listen to the podcast which I have linked to below. I know it's long people, but this kind of process takes quite a while and we wanted to be thorough. If you have any questions about why so and so game won or why your favourite game is nowhere to be seen, refer to the podcast for a full explanation. There are plenty of games we loved that couldn't make it on because of a lack of consensus. Also if some of the categories don't make sense, there are almost adequate explanations for them all on the podcast. I also think it's a decent listen, but then again I would.
If you like what you hear, then check back every Sunday for new episodes of the Critical Path Podcast (you can even subscribe on itunes).
(Spoiler Warning: We talk about the games of 2012 in explicit spoilerific detail, we also spoil tangential things with no regard to others. If you are yet to see the Matrix or haven't played a game that has been released before this very point, you have been warned!)
So now all that is out of the way, here are the awards!
Best Use of On Screen Money:
Winner- Assassins Creed 3
Runner Up- Max Payne 3
Masochistic Game of the Year:
Winner- Tokyo Jungle
Runner Up- FTL: Faster Than Light
Best Use of Baldness:
Winner- Max Payne 3
Runner- Hitman Absolution
Best Assassin Game:
Runner Up- Mark of the Ninja
Winner- Far Cry 3
Runner Up- Assassins Creed 3
Runner Up- Mark of Ninja
Best Use of Player Choice:
Winner- The Walking Dead
Runner Up- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Winner- Spec Ops: The Line
Second- The Walking Dead
Third- Dear Esther
Winner- Max Payne 3
Second- Halo 4
Third- Borderlands 2
Best Download Only Game:
Third- Hotline Miami
Winner- Torchlight 2
Runner Up- Borderlands 2
Best Competitive Multiplayer:
Winner- Halo 4
Runner Up- Guild Wars 2
Best Looking Game:
Second- Assassins Creed 3
Third- Max Payne 3
Winner- Hotline Miami
Runner Up- Halo 4
Winner- Guild Wars 2
Runner Up- Borderlands 2
Best Walking Dead Episode:
Runner Up- 2
Winner- XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Most Disappointing Game:
Winner- Hitman Absolution
Most Surprising Game:
Winner- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Best Open World:
Winner- Rook Islands (Far Cry 3)
Runner Up- Tyria (Guild Wars 2)
Best New Character:
Winner- Kenny (Walking Dead)
Runner Up- Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2)
2011 Game of 2012:
Winner- Portal 2
Runner Up- The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Game of the Year:
1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
2. Max Payne 3
3. Halo 4
4. The Walking Dead
What I Hope To See At PAX East 2013
- Jan 28, 2013 3:49 am GMT
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PAX East is right around the corner, which means another fun weekend for myself and the thousands of people who attend the Boston Convention Center from March 22nd to March 24th. If you plan on going I hope you already got your passes. I just went to buy a three day badge, and they're already sold out. I'm not worried about it. Craigslist usually has 3 day passes for sale the week of the convention as does ebay. Just gotta look out for fake badges, but anyways I'm excited for PAX East 2013. There's some seriously cool videogames coming in the near future that would be perfect for this years PAX East. Here's some of the things that I think would make PAX East 2013 the best PAX ever.
GrandTheft Auto 5
A playable demo of Grand Theft Auto 5 would be AWESOME. With a Spring 2013 release window, I think it's very likely GTA V will be at this years PAX East. Rockstar was present at last years PAX East with a booth showcasing Max Payne 3. I can't see why they wouldn't come back for Grand Theft Auto V. The rumored May release date makes GTA V a strong possibility for being at PAX East..I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed for this. If GTA V is there expect long lines and cool free stuff. I really hope this game is there.
The Last Of Us
Another big title with a Spring 2013 release date. I'd say it's 50/50 we'll see a playable demo of The Last of Us at PAX East. Naughty Dog has been present at previous PAX East's but have only done panels in the past. I've never seen a Naughty Dog booth at PAX East before. Maybe Sony could showcase The Last of Us, but Sony has been absent from PAX East since 2010. With a May release date, The Last of Us would fit perfectly in the PAX East lineup.
Xbox 720 Anybody?
Wouldn't it be cool if Microsoft or Sony announced their next console at PAX East? I know it's a stretch, but why not? Everybody is expecting these big announcements from Sony & Microsoft at E3. Why not stay ahead of the curve and announce you're new console at PAX East? PAX East is supposed to be the conference for gamers which would make an announcement there cooler than E3. Chances of that happening are slim to none tho. I doubt we'll see that happen.
I'm not saying we need Eminem & Jay-Z performing at one of the concerts (that would be awesome), but wouldn't it be nice to see more famous people in the gaming industry roaming the Expo Hall? Last year I met Suda 51, and it was awesome. I couldn't understand a word he said, but I was honored to take a picture with the guy, I heard Cliff Blizinski is going to be there this year. It'd be nice to see him at the Expo Hall. Imagine if there was a panel with Shigeru Miyamoto & Hideo Kojima? That would be dope.
Another thing that was absent from last years PAX East was the Nintendo Wii U. It was still unreleased at that time, but that didn't stop Nintendo from letting gamers play the unreleased Nintendo 3DS the year before. I kind of just wanted to see a Wii U last year Now that Wii U is available, I hope to play it at PAX East. I don't own a Wii U, and don't intend on buying one, but a cool demo at PAX East could help change my mind about that.
I'll be tuning in to see what's announced for the show as we get closer to March 22nd. If you're going to this years PAX East what would you like to see? I'm hoping this years PAX East is better than last years.I think PAX falling on Easter weekend last year kind of killed some of the fun out of PAX, but I still had a good time. Maybe some of my wishes in this post will be granted. If they are I think this years PAX East will be one to remember. See you there.
EA vs. Ubisoft
- Jan 27, 2013 11:09 pm GMT
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S A M P A R K S H
E X C L U S I V E
Article 1 / 2
This is 2013, developers and independent studios are investing billions of dollars in the gaming industry and the gamers have nothing short of options. Companies like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are continuously launching next generation consoles. Every month, we see game developing companies both go bankrupt as well as develop. It therefore is as clear and obvious as anything that the competition is as tight as it can get right now within the gaming industry. With no game developing company having a clear monopoly in the gaming market right now and gamers having hundreds of options to choose from even within a single genre, the market is bringing out the best out of all the game developing companies and studios.
Both EA (Electronic Arts) and Ubisoft have been old players in the gaming market competing not only with each other, but also with various other game developers. Even though it is very important to know that the gaming titles that these two companies publish are actually developed by various studios and not themselves by either EA or Ubisoft, we have never really had a proper EA vs. Ubisoft debate.
So lets get the debate going. Just to let all of you know, Id be more than pleased to hear your opinions and suggestions about this article. Do feel free to say anything about the article and I might as well include some of your comments in my Article 2.
You most probably have your favorite titles as well as a soft corner in your heart for some titles. Its all normal, youve most probably also found yourself defending your favorite titles in a heated argument on gamespot. First things first, pick the game publishing company you like better between the two, get some popcorn and read on.
Ubisoft was started by five brothers in 1986 in France while Electronic Arts was started in USA in 1982.Even though initially Ubisoft and EA made many deals, it was common knowledge that they were arch rivals. What followed was individual development that took place within both game publishing companies and the business plans for both companies indicate that business of both the companies took a good start.
Comparison of Games:
Let us start with the eSports and racing section.
Electronic Arts has titles here that include the NHL series that has become a decent gaming franchise in itself after 1991, the FIFA series since 1993 which is currently battling out with Pro Evolution Soccer for the title of the best soccer game franchise, the Need For Speed series which rightly earns the spot for the best racing game franchise without much denial, the NASCAR series that ended in 2009 and the NFL series which has also sold quite well.
Ubisoft is quite short of boasting rights here. We obviously know the F1 franchise which we have seen evolve around the years only for the better, we are also listing the Just Dance franchise right here too since the future might hold Just Dance in the eSports section seeing Kinect and the coming next generation consoles and finally the few football manager games that it released in the Play Station 1 era. We also saw a bit of Streetball and Action Soccer published by Ubisoft.
It wouldnt need an expert to tell that Electronic Arts is the clear winner in the eSports section with continuing franchises the likes of NFS, FIFA and NFL. The only point of discussion could arise as F1 vs. NFS. Here again, Id say that NFS is the clear winner as it has 18 games in various platforms to it whereas F1 is an irregular franchise the last of which though, we have yet to see. Even though it would be easy to say that the 2001, 2006 F1 games improved highly upon their predecessors, the F1 gaming franchise might as well never be a part of the spotlight because of franchises the likes of NFS. NFS however has shown that it still, as a franchise, has a lot to offer to the gaming industry. Id love to know your opinion about the NFS vs. F1 franchise battle. Do post your opinions in the comment section below.
Educational, Puzzle, Card, Board Games:
Even though this genre might not appeal to you, there was decent competition about it pre-2000. Even though it would be hard to find even one publishing company today that has its major priority as this genre, we should still consider this genre as both the game publishing companies originated at a time where some felt that nothing could beat a good puzzle game on their pc or handheld console while sipping some good hot coffee.
Electronic Arts has never given priority to this genre simply because its earliest franchises were successful and added sequels continued to enjoy mostly the same success. Some of its franchises that can be included in this category include the inspirational (at that time) hit Pinball Construction Set, the innovative Archon franchise and Kasparov's Gambit.
The same does not, however, hold true for Ubisoft. Franchises in the action and adventure genre like Assassins Creed and Far Cry were not there from the start. Ubisoft put games like Bomberman, Fer et Flamme, Fred and Hexcite as well as several exciting compilations for several consoles at the time which worked exceptionally well for Ubisoft.
Even though most of Ubisofts titles werent as good as those of Electronic Arts pinball and Archon franchise, Ubisoft still gets the better of EA in this genre. First of all, EA never intensely marketed their games included in this category and their games stronghold remained in North America while the Ubisoft titles were well marketed and came out on most of the handheld consoles at the time and gained most of its support from the widespread users of Atari consoles. The only thing that made EA lose this title is poor marketing and not making any sequences to their more successful games in this genre. Id love to know your favorite game of this genre in the comment section below.
And that ladies and gentlemen wraps up our Article 1 of EA vs.Ubisoft and things still remain undecided with 1-1. Id love to know your thoughts on this article and Id want you to know that Article 2 will be coming out soon and it will be the decider in the debate. Id be interacting with you guys in the comment section as well.
Read Article 2 for the winner of the strategy game battle, the first and third person shooter battle, the simulation genre battle, the 'whats next for EA and Ubisoft' and the Final Verdict that will announce the winner in the debate.
Hope you like the article and stay updated for more. Article 2 coming out soon .
Who needs food so long as there are apps? (Apple sees $60 billion in losses)
- Jan 25, 2013 9:33 am GMT
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Wow. Never really knew they had $60 billion to lose. Leaving them at a mere $423 billion according to the Huffington Post, they're still the top company in the U.S., with ExxonMobil a close second.
But what's so awe-inspiring (and alarming) about such a realization is that it's all in the name of entertainment.
Not food, not fuel, not clothes or any other number of necessities humans need to survive. And ironically, most iDevice users probably spend the least amount of their time with their devices for phone usage or necessary functions. Let's tell it like it is: they're mobile-entertainment devices -- distractions on the grandest scale our species has probably ever known.
Anyway, the company took a big hit, evidently, in the stock market, but it's still a Goliath. Obviously, I love gaming, otherwise I wouldn't be here on Gamespot, and heck, I have spent more time gaming on my iPhone in the last year and half than any other system I currently own. But it sure is telling to see figures like that. We might need to re-examine our priorities as a global community.
Bloodbaths and Red Herrings
- Jan 25, 2013 7:47 am GMT
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It is not often that a small-time blogger such as myself would risk his head by sticking it into the hornets nest that is the gun crime debate, but when American President Barack Obama introduced new measures to fight gun-related violence, a response was warranted. Among a wide array of new measures, Obama called for the US Congress to invest 10 million dollars into researching a possible link between gun violence and the depiction of violence in media, such as video games. Unsurprisingly, the suggestion sparked outrage among gamers. The implication that their favourite pastime might be related to the recent bloodbaths is a tough pill to swallow for the millions that grew up on games such as Mortal Kombat and Doom without ever having hurt a fly. Though the vast majority of the gamers will have rejected the presidents words immediately, a more thorough analysis makes his proposal seem even more bizarre.
"It would be sensible to save the 10 million dollars for more fruitful scientific endeavours."
Should Congress heed Obamas call for more research, the subsequent study would not be the first attempt to establish a link between virtual and real-world violence. Those who witnessed the media coverage of the Columbine shooting will surely remember how the shooters affinity for Doom was presented as a possible cause of their violent actions. Even more recently, the fact that Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Breivik owned a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (along with 22 million other people) spawned the rumour that he used the game to practice before he went out to kill 69 people. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, these and similar claims have never been substantiated, likely because they were motivated by the necessity of a clear scapegoat rather than factual information.
Do video game developers have blood on their hands?
Still, Obamas main argument in favour of more research we dont benefit from ignorance implies that a link between violent behaviour and violent games has never been taken into consideration before. Given that there have in fact been numerous studies on violent video games, it would be sensible to save the 10 million dollars for more fruitful scientific endeavours. Out of the countless studies that have been conducted on the subject, some found basis to speculate on (temporarily) augmented levels of aggression in gamers, whereas others saw no reason to further explore the hypothesis that violent games cause violent behaviour. At any rate, the ignorance mentioned by the President says more about his own obliviousness to decades of research than the existence of a scientific niche.
"One would think that there is no better time than now to stop beating around the bush."
Curiously, it is still unclear how serious the suggestion of Obama will turn out to be. The 10 million dollar research was but one of many ideas, and it could well be that it was solely intended as an attempt to appease vociferous opponents of gun control by offering a broad range of measures, as to demonstrate that the White House is taking everything into consideration. After all, in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, the National Rifle Association was quick to point its trigger-fingers at films and video games. Moreover, the Presidents desire for more research does not explicitly mean that he believes there is indeed a link, let alone that the conclusions of the research will lead to censorship. After all, the idea that virtual violence could be a decisive factor in Americas current gun crime epidemic seems far-fetched when you realise that the same games are being played all over the world without necessarily causing similar patterns of violence. As such, it is to be expected that the President of the United States is wise enough to realise that restricting the depiction of violence in video games is unlikely to contribute to a drop in gun-related crime.
Games such as Grand Theft Auto are often accused of promoting violence.
However, even if Obamas plans turn out empty shells, he has insulted not only gamers, but also the academic community. It is not without reason that Dutch video game researcher and journalist dr. David Nieborg described the words of the President as a slap in the face. For to suggest that decades of thorough scientific research have resulted in ignorance displays a lack of either knowledge of or respect for the many academics who have dedicated their careers to investigating the possibility of a link between virtual and real-world violence. Moreover, now that gun violence is sweeping across America, one would think that there is no better time than now to stop beating around the bush and address the problem with measures that will harvest results rather than votes. A red herring may temporarily boost approval rates, but it will surely not prevent more lives being lost.
Links and sources:
 "Barack Obama begrijpt niets van game-onderzoek", nrc.next 7, no. 216, p. 16. 18-01-13
Also posted on System Wars Magazine.
The video game industry has an image problem
- Jan 21, 2013 1:05 pm GMT
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In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy we've seen numerous people jumping to blame video games as contributing to violent behavior. People familiar with gaming know the criticisms are unfair and unfounded, so why do they continue to be leveled against our hobby? The answer is the video game industry has an image problem and so far it seems to be almost completely unmotivated to work on changing it. A big part of the problem is misinformation and myth propagation on the part of people who are either uninformed or using the image to promote their own agenda. The latter group includes politicians and the NRA, the former includes almost anyone who doesn't play "core" video games.
However, the other large part of the problem is the immature and counterproductive attitudes that go into making and promoting violent games. It seems like a large contingent of decision makers are motivated to up the ante on over the top violence because they think it's cool and a good number of their customers think so as well. You end up with marketing like the "your mom hates Dead Space 2" where the key point is if the violence repulses someone, it must be cool.
Then there's the bloody limbless torso promoting Dead Island 2 that was apologized for within a day of it's announcement. You have Mortal Kombat devs focusing on how extreme their fatalities are in previews. And of course we have countless games touting how cool it is to kill enemies because you get a slow motion close-up, blood sprays everywhere, limbs and heads come off and rag doll physics send corpses and parts splaying all over. We've all read and seen previews thay play up these things and I'm guessing I'm not the only one who thinks 'Seriuosly? Are you deliberately TRYING to make games look worse than they do and invite backlash?'
"As it turns out the brothel is a fine playground to show off Manhunt 2's new environmental executions, which as the name suggests has you using the environment to send badguys towards a very bloody end.
Not wasting any time the death toll begins with the receptionist, who is easy work thanks to a carefully placed telephone, now smashed through his face with scattered pieces of flesh littered on the floor."
Manhunt 2 Preview,
I'm not saying violence is evil nor that it should be eliminated from gaming, but gaming industry leaders need to stop pushing it as if it were the best part of their games. I honestly think there is a strong element of man-boy immaturity motivating too many people in their design and marketing decisions. I'm surprised no one has yet done a research piece for some news outlet pulling the worst of these marketing attempts to show the public how warped game developers are.
On the positive side, the games industry needs to actively promote what's good about games. They teach all sorts of things to players other then death and destruction. Action games develop hand-eye coordination, strategy games develop logic and planning, RPG's and The Sims teach a bit about social interactions and multiplayer games feature actual social interaction. Most games feature some kind of problem solving, the basics of which can translate and aid in real world situations. Most importantly the deep stories that are integral to gaming now that can reach people with all kinds of ideas on a level that simply watching or reading a story cannot - there are still too many people who dismiss gaming as mindless button mashing. Almost everyone alive has played some sort of video game, and before anyone shouts that mobile games aren't real games, I would say that if Pong, Mainframe Star Trek, Pac Man and Space Invaders are games, then mobile games that are far more complicated qualify as well. The industry can point to the fact that the vast majority of people enjoy video games and somehow resist the urge to do violence.
It should also stress the fact that the games rating system was set up by the industry itself, it fairly and accurately indicates what sort of content a game has. It allows consumers to make educated decisions on what kind of games they're buying, especially when buying them for children.
If the industry continues to ignore it's image things will only get worse from here. There is no sense feeding the bad publicity and making gaming an easy target for people who want to deflect blame like the NRA or promote themselves as crusaders against violence "for the kids." Gamers have a role to play as well. Too many people have a knee jerk reaction to criticisms against violent content where they will simply vilify the complainer as an ignorant fool. Much as it may be justified, we should consider the message glorifying over the top violence sends about our hobby. We can't ignore the damage that is done by promoting graphic violence as the main appeal of gaming.
Region-Locking Needs to End
- Jan 19, 2013 3:22 pm GMT
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In the days of yore when Japan was the epicentre of game development and buying a PAL PS2 was how you played weird Japanese rhythm games region locking was more of an issue than it is now. In this enlightened age of the twenty-teens you'd think limited access due to the mere geography would be a thing of the past, but of course Nintendo has other ideas.
As some of you may know I'm the recent owner of a Nintendo 3DS and am currently traipsing about the British Isles. It should be a match made in heaven.
Unfortunately, I've run headlong into the solemn realisation that Nintendo has spent the last six years with its head buried in the sand in stern denial of the existence of the internet. My 3DS is a US model, which means that UK 3DS games are unplayable due to the region-locking firmware baked into every 3DS console. This wouldn't be a problem if the Nintendo eshop could provide games via the miracle of the internet but sadly Nintendo have screwed it up on that front as well.
You see prior to my spint in the UK I was living in Singapore and thus have a Singaporean credit card. The way the eshop works is that you can't buy anything unless the postcode your card is registered to matches up to the region you've chosen for the eshop. However, Nintendo is convinced that only the US, the UK and Japan buy games via the eshop because the Singaporean eshop front is a joke. There are no games available for purchase, only a selection of game pages are up telling you to go buy said game at retail. No virtual console, no Pushmo, no nothing. Although funds can carry over from adding cash then switching to another region, the region from which all my money plastic originates prevents even the addition of e-money to my account.
Singapore isn't a swamp anymore Nintendo. It gets the internet there too.
Unless you hadn't realised Nintendo, the 3DS is a portable system. It's a platform designed to be taken, for example, on a trip to England. Perhaps someone who was undertaking such an expedition would want to purchase a 3DS game, both physical and digital, during his/her travels? It's not what one might call an unlikely scenario is it?
Of course I understand the reasons behind region locking. The internet gives players an uprecedented access to online delivery services that allow them to avoid the mark-ups on game prices in their region, thus undermining the profitability of a branch of a large publishing company. Nintendo obviously wants to protect its cut of every game sold for its platform and the lack of region-locking on the DS caused them no end of problems.
Nevertheless Nintendo has done an atrocious job of populating the eshops for each country with games to compensate 3DS owners for this inconvenience. It's also hard to condone region-locking in general when Sony has opened up the PS3 and the Vita to games from all regions and hasn't exactly suffered for it. For the limited number of consumers who actively exploit price differences in different countries that region-locking combats there are hundreds of consumers like me who are prevented from having a optimal experience. If Nintendo insists of using anti-consumerist measures then they need to provide sufficient digital services for every single region where their handheld is sold.
Luckily DS games aren't region-locked and I seem to have missed out on a generation of handheld games. I'll probably buy them used. I'm not feeling benevolent enough towards Nintendo to pay new game prices to reward their backward approach to the eshop, digital services and ensuring that consumers such as myself who would happily support Nintendo and its partners have the opportunity to do so.
Film Review- Django Unchained
- Jan 19, 2013 12:15 pm GMT
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I realise this a gaming website, but there was one huge response to my top 5 films of 2012 blog. It was, where is Django Unchained? Well Django Unchained only came out yesterday in the UK, and for that reason (being a UK resident) I hadn't seen it. Now I have, and I feel that I owe you guys my take on the film. So here goes.
Django Unchained is a highly entertaining movie; its brilliantly funny, sharply written and well acted. If you have an affinity for Tarantinos sensibilities there is no way you wont enjoy your time with this film. However its also tonally quite confused, leaving it as a fun movie but one with no lasting impact. Its classic Tarantino b-movie style revenge, in a way it feels like Tarantino making a Tarantino movie, aping his own style rather than doing anything different. This isnt really a problem, the man has made some exceptional films, but Django doesnt reach that level, it has high points where the film starts to excel, but as a whole it merely manages to entertain. Of course entertainment is something we want from a film, but the reason why this is somewhat of detraction here is because Django shows a clear want to be something more than entertaining. It wants to say something, it wants so give a lasting impact, it wants to expose a part of history for what it was and make you think on the past. It wants to do this, but it fails to do this. This is due to an imbalance of tone and how self referential the film is, Tarantino has caught himself up in a web of his own tropes and is determined to peddle out the sharp witty dialogue he is known for, and the bloody violence, at any point. All of this is done well, but it doesnt gel with the films other ambitions.
If youve been following the film its hard to separate Tarantinos claims about it from the movie itself. They are very different beasts and linking the two can cause the film to be a disappointment. However, if you are to judge the movie on its own terms you have the net result of a superbly crafted piece of entertainment that gives you what Tarantino does but in a new setting. This isnt a Western film that just happens to be directed by Tarantino, this is a Tarantino film that just happens to be set in the old West. If you look at the directors claims though a different picture is painted, one of an important movie, an eye opening movie. Django Unchained is not that movie. Tarantino holds himself responsible for bringing the topic of slavery to the lips of the world, because obviously nobody even thought to tackle or talk about this before Quentin put pen to paper. He also claims to be drawing peoples attention to the reality of it all, he himself speaks of a holocaust that happened in the States that people dont know about and his aim is to show things for what they are. Noble aims indeed, but not ones he achieves. If you know anything about the world you will go into Django Unchained with a negative view on slavery, you will also exit Django Unchained with a negative view on slavery. As a society we are pretty aware that slavery was a bad thing and Tarantino does little more than re-iterate this point with little nods to look dont these slaves have it bad. Theres nothing special about it on this front. Now of course there is still the aim of showing a historical account, the point of exposing how bad America was. This is a separate thing, it expects you to know slavery was bad and then educates you by giving accurate examples of how the American people used to act, shaming us with history. Once again, a fine aim, but one not reached.
Fun Fact: Tarantino is terrible in this movie (thankfully not for long)
The core problem of Django Unchained is its tone. The film is so over the top and detached from reality that its hard to learn anything from it. Yes horrible acts towards people of a different race are depicted, but it never seems like something real, it seems like back-story for a B-movie revenge flick. This is a revenge flick that is excellently realised, but it is only this. The film goes for the ludicrous at every point, it plays for laughs throughout and even when it turns sincere it is a fictionalised sincerity which applies to a fictionalised world. The characters are brilliant, they are well acted and cleverly written, but they dont feel like real people in the slave trade, they feel like characters from a Quentin Tarantino film. Quentin plays to his strengths, but he does so at the jeopardy of his ambitions. Whats more troubling though is the films depiction of violence. The trouble doesnt come from gratuitous violence on screen; the gratuitous violence is for the most part highly entertaining. Its all unrealistic and laughable in a way that works for it, its not used to shock or to make you uncomfortable, it is used to entertain. For the most part its successful, when early on somebodys head oddly explodes from a gunshot, the scene is set. Violence is entertainment for the next few hours, and it is knowingly so. The trouble comes when Tarantino tries to have his cake and eat it. Not only does he use violence for entertainment, he attempts to use it for other means. He attempts to shock the viewer, unsettle them, and show them something real and gritty that they dont want to see or accept, and ultimately use this to show how bad the slave trade was. This just causes a large dissonance though; you cant go from comically over the top blood splatter to a very real portrayal of the whipping of a slave. It doesnt fit and it detracts from the film later. Something could have worked with this, he could have turned the table on the viewer and stuck with a you think this is entertainment, well lets see how it really is. The problem is he flits between the two and neither has an impact. A particularly excellent and suspenseful scene is ended with the threat of brutal violence, its gripping stuff and an unappealing prospect. However the very same scene is followed up with a lengthy and hugely bloody gun battle, once again featuring unrealistic amounts of blood spraying everywhere and clearly using violence as a way of amusing and entertaining the viewer. This falls flat though and the scene is off putting due to the carryover from before, its also far too long, the end result being a contradiction in tone. The film cannot quite decide whether it wants to seriously say something about slavery or just be a violent and really funny revenge film. In the end it is just a violent and very funny revenge film with a few weird forays into out of place sincerity that fail to make an impact.
Christoph Waltz however is superb, take note Mr Foxx!
Overall it is a really good film though, a great film actually, it's just nothing special. It's not a film to hold up against Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs, merely another solid Tarantino flick. Personally I will take a solid Tarantino flick any day of the month, but there comes a point where it isnt quite enough, where his films become expected and pedestrian rather than seminal moments in cinema. Thankfully he still gets great performances out of his actors, Christoph Waltz is the standout as the hilarious Dr Schultz and Leonardo DiCaprio is almost as brilliant as Monsieur Candie. Jamie Foxxs Django fits the bill, but the morality of the character is ultimately quite strange and earns him the role of a well acted caricature. Samuel L Jackson is as entertaining as always, but is just playing himself once again. The problem here is that his character starts out as something slightly different, and just lapses into pure Samuel L Jackson when needed. This makes for entertaining diversions, but its stuff youve seen before and its mildly inconsistent. The bottom line is this, if you like Tarantino movies this will work for you as an excellently made piece of entertainment. Its a bit too long and can drag in places, but not aggressively so, its a self-indulgent movie but Tarantino just gets away with it (who knows, next time he may not). If you want something that excels, something with meaning to it and, basically speaking, any kind of lasting impact, Django Unchained doesnt deliver. It may set out to achieve this, but its attempts fall flat and are all half baked. Tarantino is too busy trying to do what hes known for and make his style of movie to commit to something else. This means you get a fun film with some great highpoints, but some out of place moments that detract from the picture as a whole.
Jynxzor, Draugen1P and I completed Issue 64 of System Wars Magazine!
- Jan 17, 2013 7:58 am GMT
- 0 Comments
We have been doing System Wars Magazine for over 5 years now, and it is so fun seeing System Wars user's reactions to articles written by other System Wars users. Although our little project has gotten a bit....tiny...over the past few years (only three of us left), we are always open to have more people join in the fun.
Also, let's not forget DraugenCP, who has written a ton of great articles from reviews, previews, and deep editorials on the art of foreign videogames. In my opinion, he should be working for a real website, not some forum past-time, but he's legit. Read his thoughts on the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim and The Scorchers DLC for Rage.
I also like doing fanboy articles, which parody real fanboys while also exposing the flaws in their arguments. What's scary is that a lot of people actually think like this, and I simply just copy their arguments almost verbatim. This issue I did one on Wii U saving Gamestop and how Pokemon X and Y looks like an N64 game; both ideas are frankly ridiculous and terribly wrong, but the arguments are very much real ones that people use and believe.
So here is Issue 64 of System Wars Magazine!Hope you guys enjoy it!
Violence and video games - a connection?
- Jan 16, 2013 5:13 pm GMT
- 0 Comments
Given recent events, violent video games have been headlining a lot of news stories. Countless pundits have labelled them as a culprit for instilling violence in our youth. Most recently, even the president of the NRA, placed the blame of school shootings squarely on the shoulders of violent video games. Congress appears to be jumping on the bandwagon calling for bans or regulation of these dangerous products. On the other side, countless gamers declare that they have never been unduly influenced by their games. They claim that any such insinuation lacks merit. So which side is right?
Well, if we want to be honest, the best answer is no one knows. There simply isnt enough information to determine whether games contribute to violent behavior. Do they desensitive us to violence? Do they cause us to lose empathy and become more antisocial? It's possible but it's certainly not been proven. As such, most of the critics of violent video games are not basing their opinions on published research. They are going more on public perception or their own thoughts on the subject.
Most of the perpetrators of these mass shootings have been young men, and not suprisingly a lot of young men play video games. Hence, there is a correlation between those who perpetrate violent crime and those who play violent video games. But as we have often heard in these forums, "correlation does not imply causation". There are lots of things that are strongly correlated but have no direct impact on each other. One famous example - shown on freakonomics -, was ice cream and the incidence of polio (pre vaccination days). These two events had an incredibly strong correlation. So much so, that people back in the day thought ice cream caused polio. Both ice cream consumption and the incidence of polio shot up tremendously in the summertime and then dropped signficantly in the winter. But as we know now, polio is caused by a virus not food. When summer came around, kids played with each other and transmitted the virus. Given the hot temperatures, they also ate lots of ice cream. So the two events were correlated but had no cause and effect relationship.
Now this doesn't necessarily get these games off the hook either. They certainly may have deleterious effects on certain young and vulnerable minds. We just dont know. Rather than jump to unwise conclusions, maybe a little research is in order? However, psychiatry and psychology are incredibly complex disciplines. It may take quite a while to get any definitive data on this subject. The human mind is a very hard thing to study because you can't just isolate one variable.
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