Friday, 21 June 2013

Penny Arcade Report

The Penny Arcade Report was supposed to be a safe haven from the prostitution of modern video games journalism. A place for legitimate news and discussion about topics that actually matter to the medium. Instead, we got a sloppy paid endorsement for the Playstation 4 controller. In that article, Ben Kuchera actually compares the act of touching a plastic toy with the conception of his own child.

"Yesterday I felt my next child move for the first time. I felt her tiny feet kick through my wife's belly, my hand finally being given its first tactile evidence that my child is alive and healthy. That experience was several steps higher than feeling the PlayStation 4 controller for the first time but, damnit, they were closer than I'm comfortable admitting."

But for me, the highlight is when he goes on a really creepy tangent about touching underage girls, as a metaphor for touching a video game controller:

"It felt like the first time I touched a girl’s breast in the backseat of a car with fogged up windows, scared that her parents were going to fling the door open and start yelling at me. I wanted to grab the controller and run. I wanted to nuzzle it against my face and ask it who is a good controller? Who is a good controller?

You’re a good controller, you sexy thing, you."
"No kissing on the mouth".

This was the best Penny Arcade could do? Ben Kuchera, you make Geoff Keighley look like he has self-respect.



Thursday, 20 June 2013

Xbox 180

Microsoft is reversing two of the more cartoonishly evil attributes of their new console. You can now play and trade games with ease and functionality closer to that of... the consoles we have always owned. And that Always-On DRM seems to have been shot down. Granted, there's still the matter of the price and the Kreepy-Kinect, but I honestly didn't think a console developer had it in them to throw bad ideas away.

This still puts it at a distant 4th place, if I'm taking into account modern consoles(and the 3DS). But it's no longer the Hindenberg-level disaster it was last week. This isn't a great thing, but this had the potential to set a very bad precedent for the medium and I'm glad someone at Microsoft came to their senses.

Now if we could just get them to do something about Windows.



Tuesday, 11 June 2013

E3 2013: Playstation 4

So, let's recap:

The Xbox One requires an always-online connection, or else after 24 hours it will brick itself and prevent you from playing games. You have to pay a fee to let a friend borrow a game, or to play a used game. The Kinect is mandatory and always listening/watching everything you do, like Orwell's Eye of Sauron. It costs $500.

The Playstation 4 doesn't pull any of that crap, and it costs a hundred dollars less.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Checkered Thoughts

Some days I think to myself:
"Does it really matter what race the main character is? I think if black people can relate to Spiderman and girls can relate to Harry Potter, then does the race, sexual orientation or gender of a character really matter? Is that really the message we should be sending? "Only the surface is important"?

By saying we need more diversity, are we really helping minorities, or are we just being condescending by assuming they can't see past their own appearance and experiences?"

But on other days, I think:
"Fuckin' white people."



Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Fail Whale: The Revenge

Look at this steaming bowl of rhinoceros shit. This is what recently showed up in my inbox, courtesy of Twitter Inc. I've had automated messages before. I like to think I know what an e-mail forced out of the rectum of The Machine looks like. There's a certain rhythm and familiarity to an e-mail that has never had any human involvement.

But this? This is the work of a person. A person with an inflated sense of self-importance and a wounded ego. This is the result of someone exerting imagined authority. Look at the passive-aggressive tone, buried under seemingly mature-sounding soft language.

There's a suspicious aroma in the air; the smell of someone trying to quit an argument they're losing. Let's examine those two highlighted parts, shall we?

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Batman: Arkham Origins Trailer

Does anyone notice how in the Batman: Arkham Origins trailer, everyone is wearing a mask? The henchman's faces are covered up in ski masks for the cold weather. You can only see the eyes of Deathstroke, Deadshot and Black Mask. Batman has his cowl, although he's Batman, so his face is permanently frozen into a scowl. If it's not a mask, it's at least a poker-face.

If I wanted to give the people who made this trailer more credit than they deserve, I'd ask if this was pointing out a running theme of some kind, seeing as Black Mask is the main antagonist in this game. It seems the only people unafraid to go out at night in Gotham are the people who won't show their true face to the world.

But if I'm going to be realistic here, I think it's a matter of visual priority. The trailer itself looks fantastic, almost photo-realistic at times. But we're still struggling with human faces, and eliminating most of that from the equation early on would be pretty convenient for the animators. It's a band-aid solution, but for a small trailer it serves its' purpose here.

It may also serve to give us a hint as to which members of the Rogues Gallery will be featured. I'm already hearing "Anarky" may be involved. Although I have to wonder if the upcoming cartoon where he's the main antagonist may have influenced the decision for him to be in AO as well.