Archive for May 2013

Sonic Lost Worlds: Sonic X-Treme is back?!

May 28, 2013

After the release of the absolutely fantastic Sonic Generations, the question on every Sonic fan’s mind was “so what’s next?”. Indeed, I was worried if there would even be a next with SEGA’s current financial situation!

However, I don’t think anyone expected this:

I think everyone is both weirded out and having a feeling of deja-vu. To recent Nintendo fans, this sure looks a lot like Super Mario Galaxy. But, to long-time Sonic fans it’s unmistakeably one thing:

Sonic X-Treme!

sxc_sideOf course, we probably shouldn’t hold our breath for the return of Tiara Bobowski.

If you’re unfamiliar, Sonic X-Treme was the cancelled Saturn entry in the Sonic series. Meant to be the first 3D Sonic, it was kind of a big deal but was unceremoniously dumped after a very troubled development history. You can read all about it here.

As you can see there are some striking similarities. It makes sense in some ways. Fans have been demanding a remake of Sonic X-Treme for a while now and as an unfinished game it, if nothing else, provides a number of interesting ideas. Calling it an out right remake is, of course, false. It clearly has a new story and new enemies and all that, but the inspiration looks pretty clear.

Surprising, fascinating and…well shoot I’m buying it! SEGA has made two good Sonic games in a row so far so I’m relatively confident this could be a winner. (Mention Sonic ’06 and I’ll cut you! Most of those guys got fired anyway for obvious reasons.)

EDIT: Alright apparently there are even story similarities. Maybe this really is a remake of Sonic X-Treme! (actually…if a game was never finished, is it a “remake” or just a “make”?)

XBoxgeddon: The Importance of Backwards Compatibility

May 28, 2013

This past week Microsoft revealed their new console, the oddly named XBox One. The press conference was in many ways nothing special. They focused on the various features of the console like watching TV while Skype-ing, not one single bit of which looked like anything the 360 couldn’t do. Even the few games they showed were strikingly unimpressive in the graphics department.

It was after the conference, however, when game journalists got to ask all the important nagging questions they had been hearing rumors about: Would it always be online? Are they blocking used games? What about backwards compatibility? The answers were all worse than we could have imagined resulting in a torrential backlash that has put Microsoft on the defensive. They are now blaming game journalists for the mass consumer outrage.

Oh gee, what are you gonna do? Deny them exclusives? Go ahead! As it is you’ve already pissed off GameStop, why not piss on the rest of the industry so that no one is promoting your console. That would be brilliant.

*ahem*

However, the sticking point for me is the lack of backwards compatibility. I am not kidding when I say I would excuse everything else if they had full backwards compatibility.

Now that seems like such a minor thing. Surely the lack of used games and the mandatory installs are far worse, right? Microsoft themselves claim only 5% of gamers use backwards compatibility, even going so far as to say “If you’re backwards compatible, you’re really backwards”. Well then just call me backwards.

Indeed, I’m a game collector. Last month I hooked my 32X up for the first time in decades and went shopping for new 32X games and the thing just worked. Better than it did a decade ago (due to me using a model 2 Genesis instead of my old model 1)!

What’s more I just found out about this game called Bulk Slash for the Saturn on Hardcore Gaming 101 and intend to drop $65-$75 on a used copy as soon as I can because it looks awesome. I’m also looking at grabbing a used import Love Tra -Mint-, a Kinect exercise game/dating sim because it looks to stupid not to play.

This is the daily gaming life of GEL. As you can probably tell, none of this would be possible on XBox One.

But it goes far beyond that.

See, even other gamers would tell me “Just keep the old console then”. I mean I did with the Saturn and the 32X, right? I’m not demanding the Dreamcast to have Saturn backwards compatibility!

However, it’s not that simple.

Let’s start with the obvious: the XBox 360 is less durable than an Atari 5200 controller (ooh, collector burn)! I have an NES, SNES, Genesis, PS1, and PS2 all from when their respective consoles launched and all of them still work. Yes, even the PS2 is still working. Heck I actually have an Atari 5200 and the controller even works sometimes! But the XBox 360? I’ve red ringed through 4 of them and the disc drive is giving out on this one too. They only seem to last about 3 years on average. Needless to say, I need to find some statistics on those slim models.

However, it gets worse. Let me ask you a question: What happens when they take down the 360 servers?

First of all, you’ll lose all your patches. You see, unlike a PC or the PS3 or anything designed by sane rational beings, the XBox 360 stores its patches in the cache. This means that they are non-permanent and new patches can bump out old game patches, requiring them to be re-patched. Now, think about what those patches do. For some games it’s not so bad. Others, however, may be rendered near unplayable. You could lose access to DLC, you could be unable to load saves, lord only knows how many game breaking bugs were patched on in that day 1 patch for your favorite game!

Then you get to XBox Live Arcade games, easily the best thing to come out of this console generation. What happens when you move to a new console because your old one broke and the Microsoft servers are no longer online to move the DRM? How many XBLA games do you already have that aren’t assigned to your current system? What about your favorite de-listed games like the 3D remake of Turtles in Time, or in my case, Lucha Fury (what? it had great art!)? What about when a download breaks and you need to re-download?

Let’s not even get into XBox Indie Games, which require an internet connection to play the full version.

In a weird way, when the 360 servers go off? It will almost be like the 360 never even happened. It will darn well nearly blink out of existance. Hopefully, by the time this happens, 360 hacking and emulation will make these things a non-issue. In fact, Microsoft is even claiming that they’ll be supporting the 360 for another 5 years. A good call as in that time nearly every 360 will have disintegrated and only me and a few other people will raise a fuss about it. However it goes beyond even this, doesn’t it?

As some have pointed out, the XBox One with its mandatory installs and permissions linked to accounts is reminiscent of Steam. We all like Steam, right? Heck, we even said we wanted “Steam as a console”! However, there are some key differences, aren’t there?

#1) Steam is on PC. PC has always had mandatory installs and next to no used game market. The lack of installs is a part of what set consoles apart from PCs.

#2) Steam offers things at a lower price. But most importantly…

#3) Steam offers peace of mind. When your PC breaks and you need to wipe the harddrive? You can just re-download everything, grab all your saves off the Cloud, and jump right back in. There is no worry that your stuff will get taken away. It is all there on your account.

This is where the lack of backwards compatibility catches up to Microsoft. Without backwards compatibility there is no reason to keep the 360 servers running. There is no reason to keep your XBLA games available.

As such, why should I expect Microsoft to keep the XBox One servers running when the XBox Two comes out? What happens 15 years in the future? Do all of the games I purchased for my XBox One suddenly stop working? If the XBox One had its own Bulk Slash, would I never be able to play it when I find out about the game a decade later? They just blink out of existance?

Then why would I ever buy an XBox One game!

Oh sure, Microsoft can say that this time it will be different, but why should¬† I believe them? I can’t get Turtles in Time or Lucha Fury anymore as it is! Don’t even get me started on what those assholes did to Kung-Fu Strike! Now they have no incentive to keep those 360 servers running at all! Why would I ever believe the XBox One would be different? Microsoft needs to build trust and they had their opportunities. I have no reason to trust them for anything now!

MS will probably point to the popularity of MMORPGs that also require a server to run. Something that, as a Dungeon Fighter Online fan, I know all too well. However, there is a key difference: modern MMOs are free-to-play. In fact, this is why they are free-to-play! Very few people wanted to spend $50 on a game that required a monthly fee and stopped working when the servers went down! It is a very hard sell! Shoot, speaking personally I rarely bought boxed MMOs and never bought “online multiplayer only” games on 360 and PS3 like Shadowrun, MAG, and Warhawk.

You can see how this all comes together now, can’t you? Had Microsoft built upon their existing service, they could have had something. Imagine having access to all your 360 games, your account, and even your friends. Imagine calling up your XBox 360 friends from your sweet new XBox One in an XBox Live Party and telling them how awesome these next-gen dogs are! You can’t buy publicity that good! If they had made this a smooth and seamless upgrade? They could have maintained their lead in the console war.

However, like Sony and Nintendo before them, they got cocky with their third console.

I won’t say that purchasing an XBox One is completely out of the question. I’ll be real here. There is always a chance, however slim, that a must-own GEL-centric game becomes an exclusive. Whether it’s a new Rumble Roses, Monster Rancher, Bust a Groove, DOA, Twinkle Star Sprites, or just a home port of Planet Harriers, there is always a chance I’ll get your console. However, it will never ever be my “main”. If a game is available on PS4 and XBox One? I’m going PS4. I don’t care how much better it looks or runs or what kind of exclusive DLC you have, the preserveability of my game is more important.

Then again, from their own words, it sounds like Microsoft doesn’t even want my business! I mean, I am “just backwards”, right?

Of course, as The Only Guy On The Internet Who Likes Motion Control (and The Kinect GEL Ride Guy), you might think I would at least be interested in the new Kinect. The answer is no. Because, you see, it doesn’t matter how well the Kinect works, it’s incredible technology behind a bad idea. You need buttons and a tactile controller to do anything worthwhile with it as a gaming device! How do you navigate your environment? How do you manipulate objects? How do you shoot? You do realize you can’t even do a lightgun game on Kinect without a strikingly Move-esque peripheral, right? The only thing the current Kinect is good for is dancing games. The only thing a future Kinect could be good for, theoretically, is maybe a boxing game too.

As for it always being connected? Yeah, that worked out so well with the current one, didn’t it? It’s not like I didn’t disconnect that damn thing after one day of leaving it hooked up! It’s not like the one friend I have who is too lazy to disconnect his isn’t constantly screaming “XBox! Back! Stop! Pause!!! DAMMIT! Uurrrrrrrgh!!!” while in a party chat with me. It’s not like the current Kinect actually fucked with people watching the XBox One reveal!

Oh wait, it’s exactly like that.

Every single facet of the XBox One looks terrible beyond words. It makes me long for the days of game systems that were really money laundering scams by the Swedish mafia. Those were far less terrifying and scammy, and they were actually a scam!

Of course, the worst part is that Sony hasn’t made any of their own plans entirely clear yet. They could have this console war in the bag! It is literally being handed to them! Then again, so was last gen and if any company can drop the ball, it’s Sony. If they do…then could Nintendo win this console war by default?

Well, it is The Year of Luigi.

 

…and Luigi wins by doing absolutely nothing.

Guilty Gear Xrd: Why It Will Work!

May 26, 2013

It seems with SEGA’s nebulous financial state, they are loosening their grip on certain things they owned the rights to. One was the Frogger theme, which now gloriously blasts through all recent Frogger games (by the way, I recommend Frogger 3D on 3DS). Another is the Guilty Gear license.

Back at the start of this generation, Arc Systems Works had to start fresh with a new 2D fighter called BlazBlue because SEGA/Sammy owned the rights to the Guilty Gear series. Now that the rights are back in their possession they can continue the series! But…there is a bit of a snag. The old 640×480 high-res sprites actually look worse than older 320×240 sprites of other games. With their resources focused on making new sprites and new characters for BlazBlue they have a lot of work ahead of them in completely redoing all their Guilty Gear sprites.

Worse still, we have a new console generation on the horizon! Could the standard resolution for consoles rise again in the near future? How does one combat this issue? The answer, it seems, is to blow our minds.

What at first seems to be a crop of new sprites is revealed to actually be really incredible cel-shading!

“Wow! Why has no one else thought of this!” people keep saying.

Well the truth is, they have. They just suck at it.

Think about it: Street Fighter IV, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and Marvel vs Capcom 3 just to name a few are all 2.5D fighters with cel-shaded characters. The intent is to make them look like the 2D sprites. However, they don’t because the cel-shading just isn’t good enough and they don’t control the frames as tightly as ArcSys is.

Of course this new method brings with it plenty of other advantages: It’s easier to add new moves, alternate costumes can be made (incase you hate Millia’s stupid hat), and the presentation can be cranked up to 11!

Yeah, see all those neat anime cutscenes in the middle of that trailer? Those aren’t anime cutscenes. I think those are actually real-time 3D.

Now think about the way BlazBlue handles its story with character portraits standing around talking to each other. Imagine if they were 3D models with facial closeups and panning cameras and stuff. I think this is what we might see out of Guilty Gear Xrd.

It makes sense too! Guilty Gear is the ArcSys series with the most “mainstream” (and I use that term loosely) appeal. BlazBlue never caught on with the fighting game community for stupid and arbitrary reasons nor did any of their other fighters (which we’ll touch on in a minute). Now it is true that most “mainstream” gamers won’t really dig into the deep combat of Guilty Gear, but flashy presentation and an appealing story mode can potentially bring in the bucks.

Which brings us to the big question: How will it play?

Let’s be honest here, Street Fighter IV does not play as well as any of the 2D Street Fighters and it isn’t alone. Many 2.5D fighters have stiff controls and awkward jumps. Could the move to 3D models hurt Guilty Gear? I don’t think so.

A part of this is because my hardcore Guilty Gear fanatic friends can identify the exact combos Sol is doing. Unlike many fighting game companies, ArcSys clearly knows their own fighters and what is going on in them. It really seems they want Guilty Gear Xrd to play like Guilty Gear.

The other reason is Battle Fantasia.

Released in arcades on the Taito Type X2, it hit both 360 and PS3 at the start of this generation. Development was headed by Emiko Iwasaki, one of the artists for the Guilty Gear series. There were two main ideas behind the game: To make a fighting game that would appeal to a wider audience (especially women), and to get the company’s feet wet in the world of 3D. The resulting game was a basic but fun 2.5D fighter with a JRPG theme. The game was met with middling reviews and garnered no popularity or fame…

…and yet it redefined the 2.5D fighter.

I am actually not kidding. In an interview, Yoshinori Ono revealed that in an early alpha arcade test of Street Fighter IV the game was met with numerous complaints about the awful, sluggish controls. Then they saw a Battle Fantasia machine and said “Like that! That’s how we need to do this game!”. Yes, without Battle Fantasia, Street Fighter IV would have sucked (harder)!

You see, in a 2D fighter every single frame of animation has to be hand drawn, resulting in a very high level of precision. However, in all previous attempts at 2.5D fighters, developers took advantage of the way 3D models can generate the frames in-between key frames. This results in much smoother animation, but much slower combat, sluggish controls, and sometimes even nebulous frame data. You might think that 3D fighters have responsive controls and smooth animation, but they don’t. When you do that punch-punch-punch with Jack in Virtua Fighter, the animation for that 3-hit combo is premade and your inputs merely tell the animation to continue. Notice the significant delay after the 3-hit combo.

What Arc Systems Works did was control every frame of 3D animation as though it were a 2D sprite. Each frame is pre-posed with no in-betweening. The result is something that plays as tightly as a real 2D fighter.

As for the jumping? I have absolutely no clue why 2.5D fighters frequently have stiff awkward jumps but Battle Fantasia feels about right at least.

In case you can’t tell I am a bit of a fan of Battle Fantasia. Basic though it may be, the game is screamingly nostalgic (seriously, it feels like a Dreamcast game) and I highly recommend it to anyone worried about the fate of Guilty Gear Xrd. The good news is that it was released in America on both 360 and PS3! The bad news is that only the 360 got a boxed release due to Sony of America’s “quality control” policies (namely the “You must dub” one). As such you can find a boxed copy of it used for about $5 at GameStop and new copies are still floating around in Wal-Mart bargain bins on 360. You can download it digitally on 360 and PS3 for $20. I will say the game is not super deep and the netcode is a bit lackluster (but does work okay on a good connection). Also, do not play Coyori (the catgirl) at first as her movelist is microscopic (an uppercut and a rekka) and she may sour you on the game.

Now, having said that there is one other concern with Guilty Gear Xrd: characters. It is quite a bit of work to redo the characters and Guilty Gear follows it’s own story a bit too closely. When we last left our heroes, Justice and Kliff were dead, I-No appears to be dead as well, and Dizzy (one of the most popular character in the franchise) may or may not be alive. While I may be the only hardcore Justice fanatic (who was just celebrating Justice being made legal in the recent revision of Accent Core), Dizzy has a rather huge following and there are dedicated I-No players. Sure they could make the characters show up as unlockable extras, but that is no easy feat as they still have to be completely rebuilt and are they even legal then? The main reason why Kliff and Justice have not been allowed was because they weren’t in the arcade release. What would this mean for I-No? Who else might not return?

Only time will tell; and this is where we get to perhaps the hardest part to swallow: We’re still at least two years away from release.

This is gonna be one excruciating wait.

Skullgirls on 360 ACTUALLY GETS PATCHED!

May 14, 2013

Skullgirls has been…an interesting ride. When it was first announced four years ago, the game was massively overhyped to the point where it was inescapeable! You literally could not talk about a fighting game without someone yelling “Skullgirls is gonna be better!”. It drove me to the brink of madness!

When the game finally hit though I did admit, perhaps half begrudgingly due to my experiences, that it was good.

However, this is where things get stupid.

After release, the hype for the game dropped off massively. Suddenly it was no longer a magical dream game but a real thing that costs money and can actually be played. Now people began to realize that it, like all fighters, was not perfect. With a tiny roster and many important features missing, it was hard to get hyped about it. The game felt…unfinished.

About two weeks after release, the dev team promised a patch that would add in many new features, balance tweaks, and even movelists (seriously how did they forget those?!)!

This was a bad idea.

Now people were saying “well why should I get good at this game if it’s going to completely change in like a week or two. I’ll wait for the patch.” and thus the competition began to dry up. People stopped playing the game and thus stopped hyping the game and thus stopped caring about the game. At least until the patch hit.

However, said patch would take months to be released and due to an oversight was only released very quietly on PS3.

In that time, the entire Skullgirls staff would be fired as Autumn Games’ funds were eaten up by a law suit from Def Jam records over Def Jam Rapstar., leaving many who worked on the game bitter and angry.

Half the team then reformed into Lab Zero Games, dedicated to getting new DLC characters out for the game like they had planned and promised. Skullgirls was a passion project and they wanted to finish it.

This resulted in an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for DLC characters. The funding was a huge success, being one of the most open and honest Kickstarters ever. They broke down the costs and why they needed to much money, they showed work in progress on the characters and hosted streams showing the characters as they neared completion.

But this left one question on my mind: What about 360 owners?

They got completely hosed by the game initially with their inferior release and lack of a patch, making the game nearly worthless on 360.

However, with the massive amount of funding they recieved, the 360 patch promised two weeks after the game was released has actually come out!

The patch cleans up the game massively adding more training options, much needed movelists, new win poses, shorter load times, and lots of balance tweaks.

It’s not perfect. Air dashes are still weirdly difficult to preform and while characters no longer break apart into hitboxes, they do appear as pixellated messes briefly instead. However it is a massive improvement and it is wonderful to have a legit version of the game on 360.

What is also fascinating is that Autumn Games’ Jimmie Johnson’s Anything With An Engine also recieved DLC today…of all things…did anyone even buy that?!

New character color DLC also hit on PS3 today and is in the approval process on 360 right now.

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate Trailer confirms Leon’s Back

May 9, 2013

I mentioned the announcement of a “NEW PROJECT” for Dead or Alive 5 earlier. Well now KoeiTecmo has made it more official. The title will apparently be called Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate and “will be available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as both a retail title and digital download at some point this fall.”

Unfortunately I have no clue what that means. Will it be like Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, where you can either purchase the new content as DLC or on a disc? Or when they say “digitally” do they just mean you can purchase the whole shebang online as is quickly becoming the norm?

KoeiTecmo better come out with some answers soon as one look at their Twitter shows a lot of angry customers, myself potentially included. Anyone who reads this blog knows how hard I’ve been trying to sell people on this game as DOA5 is one of my favorite fighters of the generation. So having an “Ultimate” release like this just gives the nay-sayers something to thump their chest about and lowers interest in people I was just about to sell on the blasted thing!

I would direct you to the official website listed in the trailer, but as of this post it is not up. Hopefully they will have some answers there and clarify some things, but Team Ninja really should have prioritized convincing people they aren’t money grubbing scumbags. In this current gaming market all companies are money grubbing scumbags until proven otherwise so…that should be a priority, you know?

Well regardless it at least seems Team Ninja at least heard the biggest complaint about DOA5: the lack of Leon.

I am completely serious, most of the complaints about the game I’ve heard stem from hardcore Leon players. He apparently has a lot of fans. Admittedly, I can’t blame them. Players get very attached to their characters in fighting games and I openly admit that if they cut Lisa I would never buy another DOA again until she came back. Lisa completely transformed that game for me.

Thankfully, the latest trailer confirms Leon’s back

LeonsBack_Literally

…literally.

GEL’s Headspace on Videogame Women and the Discussion of them.

May 9, 2013

“Alright lets see what demos they added to XBox Live…hmm…Fuse, eh? What is this, some generic third person shooter? *clicks demo* Oh hey! Wait. One of those characters in the background looks like a woman! TWO of them do actually! Ooh! Are they playable? Please tell me they’re playable *clicks screenshots* …THEY ARE! FUCK YEAH! Lemme clear some space and grab this demo! Who’s making this thing anyway? INSOMNIAC?! Aren’t they Sony’s bitch? Don’t they do Ratchet & Clank and Resistance?! What are THEY doing on XBox 360?! EA?! Curiouser and curiouser…”

This is the thought process that went through my mind this morning as I checked the new uploads to XBox Live. This is how I think and should give you a good idea where I’m coming from.

FUSE1

See, as you’ve already noticed by now, there is a huge debate going on about women in videogames as I already discussed in a previous article. The thing is, half the time I read these articles I feel like they come from a completely different planet from my own! There are no women in videogames?! This is news to me!

As this post is a bit long, allow me to summarize: Do you all want me to write more articles on this subject or just save it for The Big Article? Are all of you sick of hearing about this shit, or is it half the reason you came to my blog in the first place?

In case you couldn’t tell from the above quote, female characters are a selling point to me. If your game lacks female characters, it better have a damn good hook! Customizeable robots? Move support? Ninjas? I like ninjas, does your game have ninjas? What about playable bug monsters? No?! Then what does it have!? Huge movelists? Online co-op? Coffee fortunes? J-Pop? Wait…what game has J-Pop but doesn’t have female characters?! Is it a chase-view rail shooter? Does it involve going really fast and blowing shit up?

No? Just ‘roided up guys with shaved heads hiding behind walls? I think I’ll pass. Thanks.

But if your game has female characters? Shoot then I’ll play even the most bland, generic, and unpolished of games! Shallow? Yup!

You would think this would mean I barely buy any games. However, one look at my monthly “New Releases” posts will tell you otherwise. The game industry is much larger, crazier, and more varied than we give it credit and while recent developments have hurt the amount of variety we see from the industry, it has not completely dried up.

The result is that I have found myself with blinders on, completely oblivious to what those other games are doing as I have no interest in them. I’d feel bad about this but one look at nearly any of these articles reveals that everyone else is doing the same thing! They’re completely oblivious to the games that I like and thus they don’t exist to them! It’s a weird thing to be sure.

My interest in female characters in videogames dates back to my childhood, believe it or not. Why? Well I have an older sister. Whenever my Mom took me and her to a rental store, she’d get an anime and I’d get a game. But if I could find a game with a girl in it, I could convince my sister to rent it and thus get two games that week instead of one! Ha ha! I’m a fucking genius!

As such I became acutely aware of all the game heroines of the 16-bit era and they quickly became an important part of my childhood. El Viento, Valis, and Alisia Dragoon? This was what I grew up on: games most people don’t even think exist!

dc_22852_0_0_ValisIII

Of course, my love of female leads is two fold. On one hand I just prefer playing as them. Sexualized or not, they’re always more attractive than men (to me anyway)! But I do enjoy me some heavily sexualized women. I like them a lot. I’ve spent an absolutely absurd amount of time on Rumble Roses XX crafting sexy music videos from intro sequences. I’m one of the only people on the internet who defends the Oneechanbara series of bikini-clad samurai women fighting zombies. I have Gal*Gun on both 360 and PS3. I also really like Queen’s Blade (though the videogames are disappointing).

So this puts me in a really really weird position in this debate. I want more women in videogames! I want more women to play videogames! But I also want another Rumble Roses game.

So here I am scratching my head as to what to do. I can’t stop thinking about this discussion. Heck I’ve got an absolutely massive article I’ve been writing on the subject for months now discussing it from every angle I can! Shoot it’s darn well nearly a book!

But at the same time, I’m sick of it. I know everyone else is sick of it. I’ve actually avoided discussing the topic here and been trying to bottle it all up into one singular article on the subject so that way I can just publish that and be done with it. I don’t want my blog to become an overly political mess like MovieBob’s is.

But at the same time the debate is still going on and I have so much to say it’s starting to leak out. This blog is just focused on the stuff that interests me afterall, and as you can see this is very relevant to my interests.

In some ways I wonder if it is even my place to be discussing this. As one person pointed out, the biggest issue with this discussion is that it’s mostly men talking with other men about what is best for women. However my conclusion on that is just not to try and label anything as “positive” or “negative”. That is mostly a matter of personal opinion and unless someone can magically conjure a definitive list of criteria for “positive” and “negative” female characters, then I’m not even going to try beyond a slight nudge as to what I personally find pretty positive.

One thought that went through my mind though is perhaps a second blog devoted entirely to posting every time a game with a female character in it is released. I’m thinking of calling it “GameBabble’s Progressive Scan” or something like that. Again, no judgement calls. Just a giant list of female characters and discussion of them. If nothing else it would be an interesting project that would help prove a point: that female videogame characters exist.

Because, you see, the way I see it half the problem is in how we discuss female characters in games. You see, every time there’s a hyper sexualized character like the Sorceress from Dragon’s Crown or Ivy from Soul Calibur, we write articles wagging our fingers at them for being “negative”. But every time there’s a “positive” female character, we don’t. We seldom really make note of them, actually. Because “positive” females should be normal, right? There are also no articles about “negative” male characters because…how do you even make a negative male character?!

So when people completely ignore female characters unless they’re negative, it leads to this belief that women are universally negatively portrayed in videogames and the perpetuation of this belief. The more people say it, the more we believe it to be true.

In many ways it is actually disturbing! I remember when the gaming media stood against sensationalism in the news media when they brought up gun violence and tried to ham-fistedly link it to videogames. But now we suddenly turn around and wag our fingers when it comes to sexualized women? In fact, I’m starting to see some gaming media cave and start to question if videogames really do cause violence! Have we honestly been told “videogames are bad” so much that we are starting to believe it?! Or is it that the gaming media’s ever decreasing credibility has caused them to resort to the same sensationalist tactics?

Of course I would be remiss to not mention the one key difference: guilt.

You see, with violence many gamers can safely say that they never killed anyone and never planned to. The only major exception there are the many gamers who are in the army and I don’t need to tell you why that is a non-issue.

But when it comes to female characters in videogames? Well…most of us have rubbed one out to quite a few of them. Some of us even have massive porn collections of said characters or even drawn porn of them ourselves! To say nothing of the many conversations about which character’s ass we’d like to tap. So when someone pops up and says these characters are oversexualized and that we objectify them…we often plead guilty.

The key difference there is fantasy and reality, but that can become a tangled mess when discussing videogames. I’d probably need a but more time to think of how to better word that but the point is I’m pretty damn certain that fantasizing about fictional characters does not make you a bad person.

Trust me, we all do it. Even women. Pretty certain it’s just a part of human nature.

But I’m sorry, I’ve rambled long enough.I just wanted to explain where I come from and what my stake in all of this is. The point is, do you all want me to write more articles on this subject or just save it for The Big Article? Are all of you sick of hearing about this shit, or is it half the reason you came to my blog in the first place?

Gaming with GEL – Book of Spells

May 6, 2013

Ever wonder what that Wonderbook thing is like? Well wonder no more as I delve into the magical world of Harry Potter and try as hard as I can to both play along AND break the book!