Thursday, May 31, 2012


Yesterday I was presented to an interesting article about how Atlus treats transgenders and homosexuals in its games. The writer claim we should boycott Atlus games by what he perceive as homophobia and transphobia from such games. While I don`t have anything against the writer perception and opinions on such themes, I have something to say about how he treated someone who disagreed with him.

In the moment someone spoke something in disagreement with the author, his first reactions was to make it seems that any opinion who aren't just agreeing with him was made by transphobic and homophobic individuals, and therefore not worth any consideration. This just show how much of a hater the author himself is.

The fact that someone disagree with you does not make this person a hater. If I disagree with an african-american I am not automatically a racist just because I look white (I am of mixed jew/native/european blood). If I disagree with a women that don't make me a sexist just because I am a man. if I disagree with a person who is not heterosexual this don't make me a hater.

Apparently, the author of such article doesn't believe that. He seems to believe that every single person out there is a hater and want to make his life miserable. He shows that any one who don't completely support his opinions are haters and therefore don't have a right to have an opinion on the matter. This, in the end is just prejudice of his part. And yes, minorities who are victims of prejudices can be as prejudicial to others as well.

This is inverse prejudice, where the victims of prejudice just start to expect that everyone will victimize them and that every single time someone do something they quite don't agree with towards their group they treat it as prejudice, as someone who don't see what he see because he is either oblivious to the matter or worst, a hater.

In the end, I feel the author, by the way he treated the issue at hand in his article and specially the way he treated anyone who didn't agree 100% with his opinion is at fault of prejudice. He just assumed that the only way someone could disagree with him, and handled this way, is to that person to be transphobic. It never occurred to him that people can and probably will disagree with him. That they don't feel or don't analyzed things like he do. And in the moment he start attacking the different opinion, he is not better than the haters.

Tolerance is not a one-way road. You cannot expect to be accepted as you are when you don't accept others as they are. Expecting people to be nice to you just because you are different while behaving like the same people you say you hate make you as bad as them.

Of course I defend that games and all forms of media should respect all kind of different people, and that everyone should treat everyone as they want to be treated back. This is a two way road. You don't receive respect if you don't respect back. Being part of a minority don't give an automatic license to be an asshole.

Tolerance must come from everyone, everywhere, every time. It is not something you can ask to others to have while you don't have it in you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Videogame Companies don't Listen to Gamers. But, Should They?

I already talked about this a few times before. But I think it is worth getting back to this point because this is such a common thing that the more you talk about it the better. It is very common to see gamers complaining how the publishers and developers seems to ignore fan feedback and 'alienating' them by don't giving what they want. But are gamers using effective ways to tell them what they want? And specially, are they saying what they want in a way the industry can understand?

The main way gamers use to communicate with the industry nowadays is the internet. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, forums, comments in gaming sites. They use this fast way to tell what they like and what they dislike, and most companies are smart enough to scan through those sites and services in order to gather the feedback they need in order to improve. Unfortunately, that is way harder than it should. And gamers are at fault here.

'So, hmm, what is this language they use again?'
Go to any forum in any gaming site rand you will see that more than half of the comments are either sexual jokes, attacks between users and/or the writers, things not related to the matter in discussion, death treats and spam. Other 40% is so badly written, with lack of punctuation, l33t speak, abbreviations that most people would not even try to translate it. Even us, gamers, many times don't bother in doing it, imagine the poor person who have to read the comments on hundreds of sites and forums, plus social services.

So, only 10% of the comments are written in an intelligible and useful way. After sorting out this, the PR person them have to deal with the schizophrenia rampant in gamers. They will find the same person being against and pro the same matter. You will find people, for example, who is adamant against DLC, except if it is a DLC they want, this is OK. Or how they hate digital distribution except Steam, because Steam is great.

'I want classic games but I want them with modern stuff too.'
This kind of attitude make even harder to the PR people to give the developers and publishers a clear picture of what gamers want. It does not help the fact that usually minor vocal groups are more easy to find than major groups. People will more easily complain on the web than post something positive, so the PR people will take this minor group complaints and go with them, just to piss off all the people who were OK with it but didn't bother to say so.

And game journalism is no better either. Those people, most of them, are just gamers with better writing skills who have more visible (and paid) ways to show their opinions. But they also suffer the same schizophrenia normal gamers have. They will have the same double standards gamers have, with the bad part being that they are more concerned in keeping the traffic of their sites (because that is what pay them) instead of trying to be the people who connect gamers and the industry.

'I have no idea what I am doing.'
The game journalists should be the people who says to the gamers how the industry really work, how what they do is in fact in order to thrive or just greed and to explain what gamers don't understand. In the other hand, the game journalists should show the industry what the gamers really desire, why they hate certain attitudes and specially ask the gamers who didn't speak to speak out.

But because game journalist is way more concerned in keeping their clicks going, they will always side with their readers, making them biased towards the 'poor gamer' against the 'evil industry'. This kind of attitude once again create an environment where the PR people cannot trust anything said in the internet because what is said is not exactly the truth or meaningful to them. This left only one way the game industry have to measure if they are doing things right or wrong.

This is screaming way louder than any gamer.
The only reliable measure for gamer satisfaction the industry have is their sales numbers. If they sold more, they keep doing it. If they sell less, they stop doing. Gamers have big mouths on the internet, but rarely they make their words being followed by actions. Again, it is the same schizophrenia that rampage the forums also apply to real life. The same person who say they will not buy a game with on-line passes is the one buying games with them because he/she cannot not play such game.

Or gamers who say that they are tired of the same games, but when a good, different game pop up they just decide to buy it used, or at discount, or not to buy entirely because that brand new sequel/prequel FPS is going out around the same period and they just need to play it. 

So, there is no reason to the game industry to give any consideration to what gamers speak in the internet, because what they speak does not reflect in any way to what they do. As long as they keep being profitable, they will believe they are doing all the right moves. And while gamers keep with their schizophrenic attitude in the communication channels, there will be no other way to speak of their unhappiness with the current state of the game industry than with their wallets.

Because if you have no idea how to talk with your mouth, at least learn to talk with your money. This, the industry will hear, loud and clear.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Honest Simplicity VS Over Complexity

If one media have the knowledge to make over the top, over complex, over write and generally over, is videogames. Many of its settings and stories feels like what happen when you get a whole high-school classroom, ask them to write their perfect game, them mash all the ideas together in one single entity of confusing story.

Part of it is the fact that game studios are composed of several people who have some kind of power to change the game. So, you have the writer, who create the story. Than, the game designers want to implement some kind of gameplay mechanic and need the writing to fit it in somehow. Than you have the artists making the scenarios, characters and visuals and again the game writer(s) and designer(s) need to accommodate that cool looking character or make room for a scene using that really cool evil base. And them you have the publishers and all the executives meddling with development, wanting you to include all the 'cool trends' while cutting off any stuff they consider will not sell. So, it is a high-school classroom, where all the students are creating something and the teacher making all more hard for them.

'And we add a guy with missile hands' 'Big Boobs' 'Mustaches'
But that is not just it. Some game makers want to create something deep, meaningful. The problem start with many of them not being professional writers. So, they just ended up adding all the cool stuff from all movies and books they love and try to create something out of it. People like Hideo Kojima and Quantic Dream David Cage who want to create some complex games but clearly have no idea on how to do it without either be confusing or being very derivative.

Because of that, it is easier to appreciate games who don't bother in creating some kind of complex story and mythology, but just to add some fun to it. And sometimes they ended up creating way more deep stories (and way more enjoyable) by simple not trying to do more than they can do.

Modern Warfare, the first one, had a very simplistic story to tell. You are a soldier in a special unit trying to capture some terrorists and arms dealers. But it ended up being, in a certain way, a great show about how wars are fought today, justifying its title. It have some very meaningful moments, like the torture scene above, which make you question some acts done in order to win a war.

Unfortunately, all this simplicity was killed in its sequels, with even more complex and dumber conspiracies and treason and over the top plot. Every nuance the original had got lost in its attempt to create something more complex, who got lost in the sea of explosions and attempts on clever writing.

'We need to stop the terr... Oh, shining.'
Other games, like Journey, don't have complex story-line, characters and events. But maybe because of it, it do a great job of telling a deep story to the players, not by its dialogues, but by its scenes, scenarios and events. It is a game able to tell, in fact, different stories depending on the player and how he/she 'reads' the events around him/her. By not creating a complex story, they created one of the best I ever met in a game.

Sequels and prequels also don't help in creating a deep story. Because many games are made in different generations of hardware, many times with complete different teams, the mythology become, instead of deep and engaging, confusing and difficulty to follow. Metal Gear is a perfect example of this, with such a convoluted mythology it become hard to even figure out what the hell is happening in that exact moment.

Don't ruin this by making prequels/sequels!
I always said that I prefer a honest simplicity over something made complex in order to sell. Cramming everything that is 'cool' in the gamer's mind in a single game in order to 'broaden' its appeal or trying to put some kind of deep meaning when you are not able to do it usually don't help, keeping games with the same kind of juvenile writing from its early days.

I am not saying that all games need to follow some pattern in storytelling. I am saying that game writing need to be more professional and instead of being done to accommodate the game designs, the game design must be done to accommodate the story. Or, if the story is not important at all, don't even bother. We will ended up with way better games on way or another.

Monday, May 28, 2012

7 Openings That Pump You Up for The Game

We usually don't give the deserving value to game openings. Today many games don't even have an opening sequence, which is a shame. Many games had incredible openings with some great music to go along, getting you all excited to play the game. Sure, some are not quite as good as their openings, but others show their qualities from the very start. Here are some of the most awesome opening sequences from games I have played, games like:

7. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Sure, Uncharted 3 does not have a proper opening sequence, but the song... Ah the song is awesome! It have this adventure vibe that set the mood right from the moment you pop up the disc!

6. Killzone 3

Killzone 3 have a proper cinematic, and an incredible orchestral piece to go along it. Again, it set the mood to who the Helghast are and what kind of problem you got yourself (that is a lie, it is all Rico's fault).

5. Ar Tonelico: Melody of Elemia

Ar Tonelico have some of the greatest songs in games ever. The game is not that good, but it have a charm to it that compensate its problems. And the opening completely show what the game is about, with some impressive vocal works.

4. Chrono Cross

This opening come from a time that Square, now Square-Enix, still knew how to do some impressive JRPGs. It reminds me of pirates and sailing and have those awesome work with violins and flute that is beyond awesome.

3. Soul Edge/Soul Blade

Damn, this is epic, despite the weird lyrics it have. It shows how much importance a good opening had at the  time, as a way to show off how cool every character is. Specially Taki.

2. Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII had everything to be on epic, unforgettable game. But it is probably one of the least remembered game in the Final Fantasy series. To me it is here that Square start losing its touch. But you would never guess it from this epic opening. It set everything to be even more epic than Final Fantasy VII, but it ended up being just a bunch of emo kids trying to score a date. At least, it is how I remember it.

1. Persona 3

This opening at first can be kinda weird. But it sets the tone about a game were you shoot yourself in the head to summon your 'inner demons' so well that this is probably the most perfect opening ever. And it come with one of the best game songs I ever listened!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

You Look Different... New Haircut?

First, I want to say that there is nothing wrong in changing yourself for a girl as long as you do things you actually enjoy and/or make you a better person. Things like helping the poor, given up on drugs and such are good changes to get a girl. Becoming a douche is not.

So, the AGE-2 custom you see up there, that I decided to nickname as 'Strider Hawk', is my first attempt to create a custom Gundam. It is a pretty soft custom, just some paint in the wings, using the shield from Gundam Exia that I had two with some paint and using hot glue and a marker to make the bayonet, which gave a bitching effect on the sword. Here the original AGE-2 Normal for you to compare.

And if you are asking who Nobel is, be surprised, because she is an official Gundam. No, it is not a weird custom, that how she really is. Here she is:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The All Mighty...

Sorry about the low quality in the pics. Had to use my phone as my camera is out of fuel. And somebody really should create a holiday about pizza and cookies. In my honor!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Some Funny Custom Gundams

Sailor Moon Gundams
Hatsune Miku (from Vocaloid) Gundam

EVA Gundam made of Lego
American Flag Gundam
Optimus Gundam, because fuck you redundancy!
WTF Gundam(????)
T-1000 Gundam
Gundam Mouse

The Emotional Side of the Zombie Apocalypse

Most games, movies and shows about the Zombie Apocalypse concentrate a lot in all the physical struggle for survival. getting weapons, shelter, trying to keep yourself alive against the hordes of the undead. Very few try to deal with the second aspect of the Zombie Apocalypse. The emotional luggage that the end of the world carries with it. And that is a shame.

What would people really do in the case of zombie apocalypse? How they would treat one another. How they would deal with the fact that their loved ones could be part of the horde? Most games, shows and movies barely deal with it. Most just show rugged characters surviving, with the token character hiding that his relative/wife is turning into a zombie.

Most of the time there is no character development. The righteous people will always be righteous and the bad ones will be bad. And the batshit insane can be spotted just looking at him. There is no slowly descending into madness or seem how relationships get stranded and distorted because of all the emotional trauma involved.

You don't see the characters slowly letting go of their morals in order to survive. You don't see people who would risk their lives to safe the weak stopping doing it in order to survive. People in most of those shows are somewhat unchangeable, keeping their rules and codes with them even in the face of the end of civilization as we know it.

And no zombie children. Interesting...
That is why I think High School of the Dead one of the most interesting shows about zombies I ever seem. In first glance, it can be considered just a excuse to show lots of fan service while exploding zombie heads, but it show all the struggle of the survivors, not only the fighting against zombies, but how they deal with other survivors, who may be slowly descending in madness, how they deal with the fact that they may let people die instead of risking their lives to save them (shown in the manga).

You can see how the protagonists have to make hard decisions and deciding about which rules of the old world doesn't apply anymore. And how all of that affect themselves and how they relate with each other. If you don't let the fan service distract you from the story, you will see one of the best shows I ever saw.

That is why The Last of Us, made by Naughty Dog, is a game who got me excited, because it can be one of the few games where we may see how a zombie apocalypse affect people's mind. How the survivors will deal with it. Dead Island trailers at first promised something like that, but in the end delivered a very different experience. Luckily The Last of Us will deliver in its promise.

The Zombie Apocalypse can be a way more deep story with more daring consequences, including psychological, than most games, movies and shows make it be. It just need someone to look at it in the right way. And this doesn't seem too hard to do.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Expectations Crushing Reality

It happens every time a new game is announced. Every time people start discussing what the final product will be like, specially if it is new IPs. They start discussing graphics, gameplay mechanics, story. Every single aspect of the game is discussed. But instead of discussing what we have, we discuss what we want. And that single difference can kill a game.

Those expectations of what we want a game to be instead of what the game is looking to be hurts. I am not talking about hype here. I am not talking about having so big expectations, unrealistic expectations, that there is no way  the game in question will deliver what is expected. i am talking about realistic but misguided expectations, the kind of expectations that make otherwise great games seem as not so good, because it is not what you wanted it to be.

Like wanting a game to implement a gameplay mechanic that you always wanted and discovering that it don't. But instead of being happy if the game implement its own mechanics well, you despise it because it is not the mechanics you wanted to be implemented. Or the fact you created a whole story for the game with the few videos, demos and pics available and getting frustrated because the story, no matter how good, it is far from what you spend days imagining.

You can always find someone who is being unfair with a game when they use words like 'what could have being' or 'wasn't what I expected' or even 'If they have did this and that'. No. A game must be evaluated not by what it haven't done, but by what it do. Not about what you wanted it to be, but by what it is.

Every time I see a review or any article saying that if a game have did something that would please that particular writer, I know I must not consider what he is saying. Because it is not about what the game do right and about what it do wrong, but what the writer wanted the game to do and is disappointed because it don't do.

I understand that everyone have his/her perfect game in its head, but this kind of expectations will only disappoint you. Great games will not looks so great because it is not what you wanted, and this is something so personal that no game will ever accomplish it, unless you make it yourself.

Games must be evaluated by what they delivered, not by what you wanted. It must be evaluated by what they are, never by what they aren't or they should have being. Unless you do that, you will never find games good enough. They will always lack something. And this will always lessen any enjoyment you could have.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

War Sucks

Media, in all forms, make war looks like not a battlefield but a playground, where you can have tons of fun by blowing shit up, doing head shots, driving/piloting some cool rides and being a hero. What they usually fail to show off is how much being in a war sucks. Yes, sure, there is movies and books (I am yet to find a game who do this) that shows off how much war is terrible. But for each of this, there is thousands who make war looks like the most fun times you can have.

Let's start for blowing shit up. Sure, it is incredible to see it. But that house you just exploded may have being some family's house, and maybe the poor family was still inside, being crumbled by the fragments and dying horrible deaths.

Oh, you just blew that house? look who was inside it!
How about killing another soldier? That is OK, right? Except that the same way that you can have your sweetheart and family waiting you come home safely, that guy you just filled with bullets may have it too. Maybe his firstborn is waiting to meet him for the first time, except he will never meet his dad because of you.

But, hey, the other side is composed of evil people! Well... No, that is pretty unlikely. In a war, there is never a right side. There is good and bad people on both sides of any war, and you have no way to say who is good and who is bad.

War, real war, is terrifying and a disaster for common people. Once a country is at war, you have to be concerned about how long you will have basic stuff like food, electricity, running water. You worry about being hit by missiles, bullets or not find your home and family after going to work because someone exploded it.

And being a soldier isn't funny either. you have to deal with probably the most stressful situation possible everyday, not knowing if you will ever see your beloved ones again, maybe fighting a war you don't agree with but you are forced to fight because it is your job (a job you have to take an oath to start in it) and even if you survive, you may have to deal with all people who think it is the soldiers fault a war happened, not a bunch of politicians work, or people with economic interest in the war.

Some of us love the romanticized idea of war, of brave men fighting against some evil forces. That war can be a great experience, while forgetting all the damage it causes. So, while you are watching that one war movie full of explosions, one-liners and people being 'cool', please remember that war is horrible. That there is nothing 'fun' or 'cool' in it.

That war only generate death and grief.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Keep Your Love Story Out of My Movie!

Why every action movie nowadays seems to have a romantic interest sub plot? It seems you cannot see a movie about demigods, battles, explosion and giant robots without the lead character having to deal with his love life in some way or another. And it got me questioning why?

See, if a girl want to see a romantic story, I doubt they will ever choose to go see a movie like Thor or Captain America. They will go see a movie specific made to tell a love story. It will probably tell a better love story than any action movie. Because an action movie should be about the action, you know? A girl going to an action movie is likely wanting to see action scenes, like most guys. So adding romance 'for the girls' is stupid as hell.

Take the Spider-Man trilogy, for example. It is a big let down because it cannot decide if it is a movie about a super-hero fighting super-villains or about a nerd guy trying to score with a busty red head. It make the movies painful to watch (specially the third one) because everyone wanting to see action is forced to withstand half of the movie looking at Parker making a foul of himself and Mary Jane crying. And anyone interested in the romance is forced to withstand that outlandish action sequences.

Those romantic subplots rarely serve any purpose as character development, because they have no time to make character development in an action movie. So, what we have is the usual girl talk hero to be a better person and hero do it immediately, because that is how character development works. It is just unnecessary.

'WOW! Now that I spent two minutes talking with you I am a better guy! Thanks!`
That is why The Avengers is such a great action movie. They don`t dwell in attempts to do some kind of deep character development or showing how love can make the characters better people. They just have to deal with the menace and fight it. The plot involves them trying to find a solution for the menace and not trying to solve some personal problems. even the start with the team trying to be a team are better because it is not what they are dealing with, relationship issues. They just have an ego problem they let aside because, well, THE WORLD IS IN DANGER! They don`t let personal stuff get in the way of saving the world.

An Action Movie must be about the action. People who goes to movies want to see action. The Avengers proved it. So, please, stop trying to make action movies love stories. It sucks.