Posts Tagged ‘3DS’

They’re gunning for your hobby.This time, from the inside.

March 9, 2015

It’s been awhile, I’ve just started working a second job to support my “lavish” lifestyle. While I was busy slaving away for the man, apparently about two weeks ago, my favorite person in the world, Anita Sarkeesian, had some kind of get together with video-game developers in New York City, right in my backyard! according to a Kotaku article, Ms. Sarkeesian had a bit to say about how she wanted video-games to change or better yet “8 Things Game devs can do to make things less shitty for women” The list has been conveniently posted down below for you, dear reader.

  1. Avoid the Smurfette principle (don’t have just one female character in an ensemble cast, let alone one whose personality is more or less “girl” or “woman.”)
  2. “Lingerie is not armor” (Dress female characters as something other than sex objects.)
  3. Have female characters of various body types
  4. Don’t over-emphasize female characters’ rear ends, not any more than you would the average male character’s.
  5. Include more female characters of color.
  6. Animate female characters to move the way normal women, soldiers or athletes would move.
  7. Record female character voiceover so that pain sounds painful, not orgasmic
  8. Include female enemies, but don’t sexualize those enemies

On the outside, the majority of these make sense, I mean the smurfette principle is right on point, I feel the same way about token black characters who are just “there” and number five is great as well, I would love to see way more women of color in video games, as I stated in a prior article, they’re even more under represented than men of color who aren’t even really that present to begin with. Heck the majority of these are reasonable and like I said, I agree with a  few of them myself. So let me take a moment to applause and say that on those two points I definitely agree with Anita, bravo, you’re actually starting to make some kind of sense.

But let’s get down to the real nitty gritty here, real talk, people are still afraid of sex and the topic of sex in general.

Don’t over-emphasize female characters’ rear ends, not any more than you would the average male character’s.”

“Lingerie is not armor” (Dress female characters as something other than sex objects”

These two points and a few others got my eyebrows waggling as I slowly started to make a not so subtle connection

This all reminds me of America’s and the West obsession and fear of sex, any media historian who’s worth his or her salt knows that Sex and media in general have had a tumultuous relationship since the time that they were able to figure out how to put people on film and record the. From not being to show a couple sharing a bed together to how much of a woman’s upper body could be shown before it’s considered nudity. For decades film directors have gone on to challenge film censorship, pushing the envelope every time. Films like Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clock Work Orange with it’s graphic depictions of violence and Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Basic Instinct“‘ for it’s portrayal of Homosexuals and Lesbians as well as it’s approach to sex came under serious fire from critics and the general populace alike, Kubrick himself at one point, allegedly received death threats for ‘A Clock Work Orange’ , all because people felt offended by his vision.

At one point, 'Basic Instinct' had people people in a tizzy as well

                                             At one point, ‘Basic Instinct’ had people people in a tizzy as well

These films are just two of many  that  were controversial during their time periods and drew the ire of many a critic  because at their respective times, the images they depicted were only ever talked about in hush tones. The public railed against them because they were “offended” it battered their moral compasses, they were simply unthinkable. Now a days, a film like “A Clock Work Orange” would be considered tame, the only parts that I think would raise eyebrows would be the parts dealing with sex because…well America and the West in general have a serious problem with sex.

Let’s step away from films  and back to video games, I feel like there’s a movement being made, a movement where people who are comfortable with the games they play  are being shamed for the games they play and the developers who produce these games are being made to feel ashamed about what they make. We’re going backwards ladies and gentlemen, were as films and television have had their ropes of censorship loosened, gamers, developers what have you not, are having those same ropes tightened not by the ESRB not by misinformed parents, but by critics and the gaming media it’s almost like an internalized lynch mob to a degree.

Let me give you a few examples, last week it was announced within the Dead or Alive community that DLC costumes that oversexualized characters, would result in soft bans from tournaments. The decision was made to try and “legitimize” Dead or Alive, so to “legitimize”DOA, they had to make a part of the game, customizing the look of your character, a ban-able offense. Fans of Dead or Alive are no stranger to it’s overly exaggerated characters, heck there are three DOA games that aren’t based on fighting but on having key characters frolic on beaches, playing volleyball. This is a series of  games that have been the object of criticism since the early days of disc based gaming. Who is the competitive community trying to fool? or a better question, who is the competitive community trying to not draw attention from?

doa no

Moving on, NetherRealm studios, the developer best known for “Mortal Kombat”, a series of fighting games that were the center of the “violence in video games” debate during the mid 90’s. Announced that they were going to make their women more “realistic” as in toning down their busts and level of skin exposure…that’s “realism” in a game where characters literally rip their opponents head’s from their torso’s or freeze them dead in their tracks and smashes their bodies to pieces. Just who is NetherRealm trying to appease? their fan base has been around for decades and has happily been enjoying game after game that the studio has released. This sudden move to “realism” seems coincidentally tied to the current dialogue that’s been hammered into people’s heads from Kotaku and Polygon. “You characters are too sexy, tone them down or face ridicule”

The level of violence is acceptable but the range of cupsizes  aren’t ? Before I go on that’s one thing I’d like to point out, what is it with people being offended by fictional women who’s bust size is anything over a C? From Lara Croft of ‘Tomb Raider ‘ to Ivy Valentine of ‘Soul Calibur ‘ I mean really it seems as if as soon as you cross into DD territory, folks literally fall out of their chairs and onto their laptops to pontificate about how “obscene” a character is…just a little thing I had to throw in before I got into my next example.

Dragon’s Crown,

If you’re not familiar with Dragon’s Crown, it was a side scrolling arcade like beat em up that looked Dungeons and Dragons-ish. The big issue that critics had with Dragon’s Crown was with the designs of two of the game’s playable characters, the Sorceress and the Amazon. Apparently Jason Schreier of ‘Kotaku’ had this to say about the design of the extremely busty Sorceress

“This is the newest trailer for Dragon’s Crown, the Vanillaware-developed game that will be out this year for PS3 and Vita. It features the sorceress, one character from the game. As you can see, the sorceress was designed by a 14-year-old boy. Perhaps game development studios should stop hiring teenagers? At least they’re cheap, I guess.”

Apparently If I don't mind this art, I must be prepubescent right? RIGHT?!

                       Apparently If I don’t mind this art, I must be prepubescent right? RIGHT?!

(Source)

Mr. Schreier has long since apologized for his comments but the use of Ad hominem to make a point? I could literally go on for hours about how off hand comments like this are what makes issues like this almost impossible to talk about. This western obsession that correlates  anything inherently sexual in gaming must be only for prepubescent boys  is in and of itself sexist. I’m a grown man of 28, hold two degrees, TEACH as an adjunct and I had absolutely no problem playing Dragon’s Crown. The same went for the many gamers who went out and bought Dragon’s Crown and enjoyed it for the excellent game that it was.

Closing thoughts.

I have had such a difficult time writing this piece, there are obviously things that need some serious changes within the gaming industry and a lot of them have to do with how people are portrayed. I’m all for changes that will make the medium more accepting and open to people. However at the same time I can’t condone making someone feel bad for making or playing the games that they like. Where do we draw the line between what’s acceptable and what is out of line? when does it start to go from free speech to censorship? I do know that carrying on, attacking one another or making jokes at each other’s expense is not the way to go about things and that acting offended while actively offending others doesn’t bring about any positives either just more negatives.

I’ll leave you with this quote from  from Dual Shockers on the subject of the Dragon’s Crown controversy. I feel that his statement though made in 2013, still holds true in 2015.

“Ultimately, I find absolutely ludicrous that we’ve spent years upon years fighting the censors and defending our hobby from the pundits on Fox News, but now we’re turning into the censors ourselves. We’re becoming the Fox News-style pundits that ride on controversy. It’s ludicrous and extremely depressing”

He goes on to say-” We’re not exercising criticism, we’re not doing journalism. We have become the bullies we so fiercely fought against for half of our lives.”

What are your thoughts? do you think there’s an issue of censorship? are people being too sensitive? or is there a need for change? Can a happy medium be reached? Share in the comments section!

Goodbye Cyber Troopers: Virtual On

February 28, 2015

A brief bit of history, growing up my father was very big on PC games. He played everything from Wolfenstein 3D to the space sims like the long forgotten “The Last Dynasty“. there was no shortage of the types of genres that my sister and I were privy to. We were introduced to almost every genre that was available. I still remember my sister poking around in point and click adventure title called “Robot City” and the hours she and I would spend trying to solve a murder of a scientist in a city ran by robots who all happened to follow the Asimov’s Law (the law of robotics that basically stipulate that a robot can not harm a human being”.

Out of all the genres we experiences, none was as influential in my development as a gamer as the Mech genre did. In the early 90’s, Mech games were a fairly big deal especially on Personal Computers. My Father had several games that ranged from the venerated ‘MechWarrior‘ franchise and it’s expansions to the lesser know just as good ‘EarthSiege‘. I’ve forgotten what age I was but I still vividly remember how much awe and amazement I was in  watching my Dad pilot the lumbering mechanical beasts of destruction.

The sound of the calm A.I. alerting him that his machine and it’s armaments were online, warning him when he was nearly out of ammo on mid combat, my eyes would widen in pure excitement as I watched him calmly cycle through his weapons and tear down his opponents with a hails of missile fire and eviscerate anyone that got in his way with barrages of laser fire that would light up the screen and sound as amazing as it looked. To my young mind, MechWarrior and EarthSiege were in a class of their own, in terms of action that is. The landscapes my father waged war in were usually flat, never-ending plains or deserts  or dark gray canyons, just very drab and depressing but worked perfectly in terms of atmosphere. I mean this was war on a massive scale, you were too busy watching your radar as your Fifteen meter robot slowly marched across alien landscapes. It all made sense, that’s the way Mech games should be right?

                                                                     Doesn’t look much now but this was amazing back in the day

Or so I thought.

It’s several years later and my father had just bought a new Compaq computer. I had just come back from school when he called me to his office. As I neared him, I heard very unfamiliar sound effects along with very unfamiliar music that was unusually cheerful sounding. By the time I had gotten to the corner of my father’s office my curiosity  was in overdrive. It wasn’t until my eyes witnessed what was on his monitor that my young adolescent mind was suddenly blown apart.

On his screen there were two brightly colored  machines jetting around firing off bolts of even more brightly colored  laser beams and projectiles at one another. The arena they battled though tiny in comparison to the maps that were present in MechWarrior, were brightly lit. Despite the arena size you could tell these machines were huge in scale because the obstacles they y dodged behind for cover to escape one another’s onslaught were buildings..

My father had just introduced me to Virtual On  and the the world of Japanese giant robots and inadvertently began my life long obsession with the genre.

The Raiden Unloading some beams on an enemy. This was my Dad's favored machine.

The Raiden Unloading some beams on Temjin. This was my Dad’s favored machine.

After years of watching my old man mow down other slow moving machines, it was absolutely engrossing to witness him fighting a machine one on one while literally flying around an arena non-stop. ‘Virtual On ‘became an integral step in my development and growth as a gamer. It opened me up to an alternative take on a genre for which I was only familiar with on one side.

‘Virtual On’ was an extremely popular arcade game released in Japanese arcades by Sega back in 1995. The game saw subsequent releases for the Sega Saturn and PC several years down the line. The first version of the game, which was ported to PC’s in America and Japan was titled ‘Cyber Troopers Virtual On- Operation Moon Gate’. The plot of ‘VOOM‘ was not unlike the that of the 80’s cult film ‘The Last Starfighter‘.

You, the player is playing an arcade game but is unwittingly  actually controlling their machine. The arcade machine itself was sent from the future to seek out players who were capable of controlling the giant robots or ‘Virtuaroids’ as they were called in game. Virtuaroids came in all sorts of shapes and colors there were some that looked reminiscent of Western Mecha with an emphasis on firepower over speed. Some that were references to other Japanese Mecha like the famous ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ and what Japanese game would be complete without a school girl themed robot?

The "Fei Yen"

The “Fei Yen” very small, very fast and very cute!

The ‘Virtual On’ series has a storied history that might not get to continue on. Sega’s recent layoffs and refocusing on the PC and Mobile Phone market instead of game consoles and arcades has a long time ‘Virtual On’ fan like myself very worried. I’ve done my best to follow the series through it’s paces. From the awesome sequel “Oratario Tangram” to the not so awesome “Virtual On:Marz“,  even going as far as to import ‘Virtual On: Force’ for the Xbox 360 . As a long time fan, I’ve done my best to keep up with the series and it’s community which is still very active both here and in Japan.

Despite not having a sequel to ‘Force’ in years, ‘Virtual On’ is still celebrated in Japan. The Virtuaroids have had crossovers into other games like the famous Super Robot Wars  series of strategy role playing games that feature different Mecha from different Japanese anime and video-games taking on various enemies from their respective TV shows. In fact Super Robot Wars: UX which is available on the Nintendo 3DS in Japan has a crossover within a crossover in the form of a Hatsune Miku version of the Fei-Yen (the pink mecha pictured above).

                                                                                           Hatsune Miku “Fei-Yen”

With Sega slowly looking like it’s going to close it’s doors on console gaming, I can’t help but worry about what will happen to the games that jump started my love for Japanese giant robots. Like I said earlier, there hasn’t been a new ‘Virtual On’ in nearly a decade, with ‘Force’ being released to arcades in 2001 and receiving a Japan-only Xbox 360 port several years later. Things don’t exactly look well for the series but one could hope that someone at Sega  remembers ‘Cyber Troopers: Virtual On’, because the fans will always remember to “Get Ready”.

virtual-on-cyber-troopers-saturn-00b

PS4 version of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round features more “realistic breasts”

February 20, 2015

I’ve been a long time fan of the Dead or Alive series, I started with 3 on the original X Box, dove head first into ‘Dimensions‘ on the Nintendo 3DS and happily threw down in DOA 5 on 360 and DOA 5 Plus on the PlayStation Vita (cue Amazing Grace).Hell, I even dabbled a little bit in the first ‘Extreme Beach Volleyball’ and I swear the Volleyball parts are actually why I played the game!.

When it came to the actual fighting  I’ve never been the best at it, I’ve tried to have as much fun as I could as someone who isn’t particularity good at fighting games. Being a fan of Dead or Alive also means I’m not stranger to some of the more “cringe” inducing elements of the series, from the scantily clad women to some of the characters looking seriously underage and…Zack.

One thing I’ve noticed is that each iteration at some point draws attention to the voluptuous forms of all the female characters, from the characters getting dirtier and sweaty during their fights to being able to manipulate the camera around them after they have won or lost(Granted that the same can be done with male characters). That stuff is really whatever to me and is something one can over look and not pay attention to. But what do you do when Sony posts up videos showing how a new software engine improves the movement of the women’s breasts?

dead_or_alive_5_ultimate_89

That’s right, PlayStation Japan released a video showcasing the power of the “Soft Engine” that’s being used in the models for the PlayStation 4 version of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. The engine makes the breast movement more  “realistic”in comparison the version of the game that’s available on the PlayStation 3.

See I could rant and rave about sexism and apparent misogyny and post up pictures of Anita Sarkeesian but you know what? this is exactly why I love the Japanese. As cringe worthy as this is, they really don’t give two shits about all the things that have become a firestorm of controversy in the Western gaming, they just keep making the games they want to make. Which I must applaud them for doing this despite the hostile atmosphere that’s become the new normal when dealing with the topic over sexualization of female characters in video games.  You can check out the video below, just make sure no one is around your cubicle or something unless you’re like me and just don’t care.

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is out and available for several home consoles and PC. If you want to go a round or two on Live or PSN, drop me message with your PSN or Gamertag!

Majora’s Mask is coming to the 3DS- Am I happy? no. Will I get it? Most likely.

November 8, 2014

sad kid

I have a serious love/hate relationship with The Legend of Zelda-Majora’s Mask. On one hand it’s a Zelda game, an expansive, one that too what was awesome in Ocarina of Time and expanded upon it. It took regular NPC’s and gave them side stories. I mean geez, I could play as a Goron or Zora (Fuck Deku SCRUBS, pathetic and very beta-ish if you ask me). Majora was a major leap forward, it had an amazing set up a set up that you could just leap into..but you know what ruined that set up?

That RIDICULOUS three day time limit. Nothing turns me off faster than knowing that I’m running under a clock.Yes, I know you can slow down the transition of time in game by playing around your ocarina, that’s “nice” but it still doesn’t change the fact that there’s a fire under my ass still. I get it, the moon is going to slam into the earth “Armageddon” style and you got only three days to stop the destruction of Termina. But Gods damn it, I still think having that three day limit is total bullshit.To me, Zelda has always been taking my time and exploring the world that was created for curious adventurers like myself. I simply cannot immerse myself in exploring that world when I know I have to watch a “clock” that isn’t fun and only served to stress me out as a kid.

I remember exactly when my dislike for Majora’s Mask solidified into palpable hatred. I had just got done slogging my way through the Great Bay Temple, as many fans of Zelda are accustomed to, Temples and dungeons are always full of traps and puzzles and all sorts of unpleasant things you would find in such places. Anyway I just slogged through a puzzle ridden dungeon and had reached the boss of the area, Wart. As the cutscene ended and the battle commenced I remember getting so carried away that I didn’t keep an eye on the “clock” located at the bottom of the screen. I didn’t realize that I had literally ran out of time until the ominous chiming of a clock boomed through the level. “Wuh WHAT?!” I yelled out in surprise, the room started shaking and all sorts of apocalyptic shit started happening on screen. “You’ve got to be flippin’ KIDDING ME!!” I screamed as I hurriedly tried to finish the boss fight I was in the middle of. But alas, like David Spade’s career it was pretty much futile and the game ended with the moon smashing into Clocktown signaling game over.

That’s when my contempt for Majora turned to hatred.

Garbage game

I’ve since gone back on several occasions,trying to amend my dislike for the black sheep of the franchise and each time I turned away with disgust. Now Nintendo is once again shoving Majora in my face and this time it’s portable..I think I’ll give it one more go.

I’ll probably still hate it.

The Pause Menu

January 26, 2013

Yup my “Rants” are now called “The Pause Menu” sounds more appropriate and “official” especially since we’re becoming slightly more popular on our facebook page.

Anyways enjoy this latest post and tell us what you think!

Never Ending Backlog

November 27, 2012

A shit ton of games and gaming accessories have come out in the last few weeks-it’s crazy..as a Videogames enthusiast it at times feels overwhelming to try and keep up with the latest  trendy games-I mean in the past two months alone…

Ass Creed 3(360, why? cause AMURRICA)

Halo 4( went this route because Black ops is OK but it doesn’t take a whole lot of skills to play)

Code of Princess(3DS-Beat em up spiritual successor to Guardian Heroes)

Dead or Alive 5(Fighting, 360)

Persona 4:Golden (Why? uh….I DO have the PS2 version but…Japanese Scooby do on the go? sign me the hell up!)

Playstation All Stars(Vita AND PS3 -Why? Cause…….for the hell of it I guess)

A Wii-U with ZombieU (Why? Cause…..fuck it I wanted a Wii-U)

Pokemans Black 2-(Why?….well hell I like pokemans and since a few of my adult friends are playing I thought it would be fun to join them!)

There are also various import titles for my PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 that I’ve recently acquired as well as PC games too…that I’ll go into detail in another post.

What’s super Ironic is that with all these titles, I have so very little time to play them at all! so they’re basically just collecting all sorts of dust.

(On top of that my 360 recently red ringed so there’s THAT problem as well)

 

 

Image

The Lost Woods is the Soundtrack of my escape to freedom……

July 15, 2011

 

OK ,so the other day Nintendo I finally obtained my copy of The Legend Of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D Official Sound track. The CD 51 delicious nostalgia filled tunes from one of my favorite games of all time. Anyway I also went out and grabbed myself a copy of Resident Evil The Mercenaries for my 3DS as well.

It’s not all about fun and games, I officially received my work papers, containing  everything concerning my duties and benefits as of today I am officially employed! (I start on Monday). So things are looking up in terms of work. To be honest I was really surprised at how fast I was able to find work.

I mean I tried everywhere (Best Buy’s,stores at malls etc) and I never got a call back from any of those places. From my perspective things we’re looking horribly grim, I mean with no work,no money and being back home in PA,where most of the people I know are either not talking to me or are out of state I couldn’t help but be sorta depressed. Anyways I move back to Jersey in a few weeks and I’ll be also moving into my new place  ASAP…