Trump Defender Says Video Games are Bad (A response to Matthew Walther)

I’ve been looking for a good representation of the Trump defenders coming out in support of their God-King saying something so asinine and not even remotely backed up by science as violent video games have a connection to mass shootings.  I really have.  But thankfully I have Twitter, and between the pornstars I follow on there and the YouTubers that I like, there are also the people in video game culture who find all of this shit as amusing as I do.  Plenty of them are conservative, and watching them be quiet about their God-King saying something so stupid is interesting on its own.

However, I have now found someone who fits the bill of the /r/TheDonald sychophants who want to come out in defense of their God-King and say that all of us detractors are wrong.  I love this shit.  I really do.  Here’s a link to this article, now let’s talk about it.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just robbed a drug dealer and was peeling out in my getaway car — also stolen — and thinking about my next score when I saw her: a woman in high heels and a very small bathing suit. She motioned towards me and I let her get in the car. We performed a blurry parody of marital intercourse. After she got out of the vehicle, I ran her over. Then Judas Priest came on the radio. I cranked the volume and roasted the tires of my sports car beneath the orange moon.

The moral being that because this happened in vidya, it is no less evil than if it happened in real life.

Because I was 13 years old and the above scene was unfolding on my friend’s PlayStation, I am not writing this column from a maximum security prison.

Called it!  Yeah, Matt.  And the other day I took a teenage girl from an operating room after killing a doctor with a bullet to the face.  Then, when a woman who was her caretaker at one point tried to stop me from taking her away, I put a bullet in her stomach and then, as she begged for her life, one in her face.  But there is a context to that.  The character I was playing as had this one person who was his connection to the human condition, and he was selling humanity up the river to keep that connection.  Wanna know something about both your example and mine?  I know that they are both fiction, because I’m a fucking adult.  I don’t believe in fairy-tales, or unicorns, or Jeebus, or that video games are real.

When President Trump dared to suggest last week that “the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts,” he was denounced with the uniform hectoring intensity that meets his every utterance. Hundreds of pages of digital ink was spilled pointing out that, actually, there is no proven connection between digital mayhem and the massacres that have become a commonplace part of American life.

Gee, I wonder why that is?  Could it be that there is not a SINGLE piece of substantive evidence linking video games to school shootings?  Or violence of any kind?  I don’t know, I think there might be something to it when the pantheon of people can come out of the woodwork and easily defend our position, while I’m sure you are going to have STELLAR examples that bolster you belief.  I’m sure it is all going to be very well-researched stuff.

What does it mean to say that there is no connection? Virtually every single one of the pasty psychos who have shot their classmates and teachers in the last two decades has played such games. What would count as evidence?

No.  Video games are ubiquitous to modern culture.  Especially modern male culture.  The hardcore audience of gaming is men.  By that same token, maybe we could say that Marvel films are influencing school shootings.  After all, I bet these shooters have watched a ton of them, and comic book films have been a huge part of culture for the last 20 years.  Or maybe it was the iPhone.  How many of these shooters had one of those?  You can take any piece of typical culture and put it in there and make the EXACT SAME argument.

Meanwhile, the hard science (a phrase that conservatives fear more than any other) has shown that there is NO connection between playing video games and being violent.  None.  Find me a study that proves me wrong.  You can’t!  And before you go saying that the studies are biased, Congress has commissioned a lot of these studies trying to prove just what you are!  A Congress who is biased against the industry has commissioned study after study to desperately try and prove that video games cause violence.  It hasn’t worked.  There is a great quote by Max Caulfield that I am going to end this with that summarizes this perfectly.

I cannot understand why even positing the notion of a relationship between games and the behavior of those who play them is taboo. Does anyone think that misogyny in films and television and music does not shape men’s attitudes toward women, that it has no consequences in the real world? A thousand #MeToo takes suggest otherwise. Why, then, are video games the exception?

What?!  You have GOT to be kidding me.  Dumb-dumb, the reason that there is this taboo (it isn’t.  You can say whatever you like, but everyone is going to tear you to pieces for being stupid) is because there is not a single piece of scientific evidence that suggests that.  Just like there is not a single piece of scientific evidence linking film, television, and music to sexism.  This is patently absurd.  By the way, whose side are you on, anyway?  You’re defending Trump’s comments and bashing the left, then using their talking points?  The cognitive dissonance is interesting.

Either way, there has been no connection between video games and violence, or sexism.  None that has been proven.  Just lots of conjecture based on weak, cherry-picked evidence without a single study to back it up.  In fact, there was a long-term study finally done by Germany that disproved the notion of video games.  So yeah, your entire argument is fallacious bullshit.

Why is it the default position of every commentator that spending hundreds, even thousands of hours acting out scenes like the one I described above has no ramifications for the way young people — the majority of them male — feel and behave? How do people who accept the existence of concepts like microaggressions and rhetorical dog-whistling convince themselves that indulging an appetite for murderous rage could have no discernible effects on the imaginations of impressionable young people?

I don’t accept either of those things, because neither of them have been proven by science!  Science, mother-fucker!  Do you speak it?!  Oh right, you don’t.  Just like every conservative who wants a pulpit to stand on, you just spout off rhetoric and then say you’re right.  If this was a research paper it would get a D.

Let me put it another way. If someone created a video game in which it was possible to grope or even rape women, as opposed to just cutting off their heads with a chainsaw or shooting them in the face with machine guns, would we still consider it a harmless diversion unlikely to disfigure the imaginations of players? What about a game where the user was allowed to molest children? Why is pretending to be a killer okay?

The other cornerstone of conservative argumentation – emotional appeal.  Do I think the games you bring up would be tasteless and grotesque?  Absolutely.  Granted, I’m not a fan of playing a game where I can indiscriminately kill civilians with a chainsaw or machine gun.  Now a game where I kill demons with those things like the masterpiece that is 2016’s DOOM, that I can do all day.  But do I think that those games would turn people into rapists?  No.  Much like I don’t think that watching porn makes you think that women are sex toys.  A fact that has actual SCIENCE behind it.  This is so fucking stupid.  How many different ways can I say the same thing?

One does not have to be able to demonstrate a formal causal link — whatever that would look like — between the hideous violence of many video games and real-life acts of mass murder to recognize that the former are contributing to something sinister.

Yes you fucking do!  You do have to demonstrate it.  Because you want to legislate against what people can watch and play.  You want to tell people that they have to pay your morality fee in order to play something that has no proven link to violence.  Just like how Rhode Island wants people to pay their morality fee to watch porn.  I’m sorry that demands for evidence are hard for you.  Lemme guess, you’re a Christian too.

One of the ludicrous dogmas of the modern world is the notion that the media we consume cannot influence us for the worse.

It’s not a dogma.  Dogma is faith.  Faith is belief without evidence.  There is actual evidence of my contention, while zero evidence for yours.  I’m sorry, but I don’t take things on faith.  It’s why I stopped believing in this God that so many conservatives claim to be such a huge fan of, and it’s why I also don’t believe in the SJW convictions like the ones you apparently are also in favor of.  For real, where do you fall on the spectrum, dude?

Virtually everyone agrees that it is possible to be deeply moved by watching a film or hearing a song. We are all familiar with lachrymose paeans to the virtues of reading, which is supposed to be able to make us more open-minded and empathetic and every other vaguely positive-sounding adjective you care to suggest. Why do we pretend that the reverse is not true in a medium that is designed to be immersive and interactive, to give the vivid impression of really being there?

Because I’m not five, idiot.  I know that it’s make-believe.  Can I hear Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2 and feel a lot of powerful emotions?  Absolutely.  It’s amazing music.  But I have those feelings based on the things that I feel in my own life.  Being touched by something doesn’t mean that I am going to suddenly start my own orchestra and make it myself.  Being touched by a fantastic book doesn’t mean I’m going to think that it’s real life.  You feel that way about the Bible?  Watching a heart-breaking film doesn’t make me think that way.  And when I play The Last of Us, I don’t feel the urge to suddenly go bust into an operating room and kill a doctor.

I’m sorry that nobody ever told you that there is a difference between real life and pretend.  I think my species is retarded as fuck, and even I give them more credit than you.  Go figure.

Until next time, a quote,

“A pattern is emerging.” – Max Caulfield, Life is Strange

Peace out,



More Racism Disguised as Racial Sensitivity (A response to What Culture)

I remember a few years back now when I went after Hipster McGee on PBS’s now defunct YouTube channel for saying that there aren’t enough minorities in gaming.  Now we have a British idiot from another hipster culture critic channel who has decided to take a swing at it.  Will this be any less stupid than Hipster McGee’s video?  Not really, no.  The premise this time is that gaming needs to have its “Black Panther Moment.”  Oh boy, I’m sure this isn’t going to be stupid at all.  I’ll have the video so you can see I’m not taking anything out of context, let’s get this over with.

This is stupid right out of the gate.  For starters, this film is a bold reinforcement of what it means to be black?  Wow, what a sweeping and broad generalization.  No, numb-nuts, it’s a Marvel film about a superhero from a fictional nation.  Are you telling me that all black people are supposed to identify with this character?  Yes, I’m sure the black guy from the Bronx who is a New Yorker to the core can so identify with the blackness here.  This idea that all black people are supposed to correlate in some way to this character ties into some more racism that this video spews that I’ll get to in a bit, so I’ll leave it saying that this video has this great power of generalizing about people.  They seem to think that all people of the same skin color are naturally similar and their life experiences, where they are born, and the community they grow up in will make them all the same.  That all black people are supposed to identify as African and be so in touch with their African heritage.  How absurd.

I hate that Black Panther, that is a perfectly fine Marvel film, has been elevated so much.  It’s not that great.  It’s really not.  It’s not bad, but it’s not this magnum opus of the Marvel universe.  That’s so dumb.  They say that the only reason people like it is because it’s got black people in it.  Um, no!  It’s because it’s a Marvel film that follows the Marvel formula to a fault and the Marvel formula tests well in this country.  It makes a shit-ton of money.  I like to over-analyze things, and even I think you’re fucking daft!  We’ve only just gotten started and already I’m annoyed.  Groj help me.

Next up they say that films like Blade and Hancock don’t count because they don’t have enough to do with diversity.  Um, what?  So the fact that Blade lived in New York and had the New York mindset all over the film isn’t a diversity?  Oh, right, this idiot has this idea that all white people are part of some big collective hegemony and is so fucking xenophobic of cultures outside of his own.  What do I mean?  I mean that in New York, the way of life there is vastly different than the way of life in Seattle or Houston, Texas.  See, differen’t parts of the country have different cultures inside them.  If these culture simpletons could actually get that, maybe they wouldn’t be talking about how characters like Blade basically aren’t black enough for them.  And by black enough, we mean African enough.  These people are so fucking racist.

So gaming doesn’t teach about a love of culture and diversity?  Really?!  Fucking really?!  This is what I was waiting for.  I’m pretty much about to go off the rails on this moron, so buckle in, people.  I’m playing Persona 5 right now.  It’s a marvel of a game.  The depth it goes into about Japanese culture is just wonderful.  Oh, wait, the Japanese are too white for this fucking bigot.  Or maybe we can talk about the Yakuza games.  They don’t even have a dub, which is awesome.  You get an even further dive into the culture of those games.  But again, the Japanese are too white.

Or how about Horizon: Zero Dawn?!  That game created several cultures for the tribal societies from scratch!  And you learn about all of them!  I can tell you about what I learned about the Osram, or the Sun Kingdom, or the Banook.  I found every culture in that game fascinating and they were able to do that by having the cultures be diverse skin tones, but have cultural differences.  Something that this xenophobic piece of shit doesn’t even address!  As an example, this is some British or maybe Irish social justice moron.  If we made a game that was very much about British or Irish culture and had a deep look into the community it is set in, is that not culturally diverse?  I’m American as fuck and I would find that just as engaging as I do Persona 5.  But no, let’s just ignore that.

This video has the BALLS to say that gaming rarely goes into detail about what it means to be one with your culture.  Bull-shit!  I just listed off three games right off the top of my fucking head.  Let me try some more – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.  In addition to going into the culture of the pirates and their world, you also get to see some of the racially charged segments.  Hell, that game has a DLC where you play as your former quartermaster freeing slaves!  Speaking of pirate culture and a game that dives into what a culture is, let’s talk about Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.  That whole game has Nathan Drake learning about the culture of powerful pirates who run the gamut of diverse races and backgrounds and you learn a ton about them.  Oh, right, you SJW morons said it’s bad because it basically has Nate as a grave robber.  Fucking idiot.

I could go on for hours about my favorite Final Fantasy games and how they immerse you in the cultures of their worlds to have you come to learn about these characters and their cultural and ideological diversity to care about each of them.  Or maybe we could talk about the fucking Mass Effect games.  They have a TON of codex entries helping the player learn all they can about every culture, and you have all these diverse species and races having different perspectives on things.  Like how Garrus would have taken the Salarian Delatross’s offer to let the genophage go on because of his own biases as a turian.

You know what this moron’s REAL problem is?  It’s not that there isn’t enough diversity.  I’ve just beat the shit out of that entire argument here.  Their argument is that there aren’t enough black people.  It’s as simple as that.  They want more African games with characters who are African as fuck just so they can beat the same social justice drum that they beat for a film that does NOT deserve it.  I didn’t see these people singing the praises for Moonlight, a film about growing up both gay and black that was a masterpiece of the genre.  No, they have to have a film that is superficially about being African so they can say “see, this is promoting diversity!”  It’s because it’s mainstream.  That’s it.  Hardly anyone has seen Moonlight.  That and it deals with being black and gay, which being gay is something that a HUGE portion of the black community is not a fan of.  It’s an ugly truth that these xenophobic morons want to ignore.

I hate this crap.  This person seems to think that all white people are a homogenized group.  Yes, because as a white American I know just how a white Russian (anyone who gets me one right now is my friend.  You know what I mean) feels.  Or a white British person.  Or a white Frenchman (insert Monty Python joke here).  I’m sure I know all about that.

Forgive me for thinking that a black person in New York probably has no fucking clue what it’s like to grow up in a fictional African nation.  Or that a black British person has no fucking clue what it’s like to grow up in New York.  It’s almost like there’s nuance to this or something!

But you know what, if there is a good game that comes out and it has a character who is so damn African that he actually celebrates Kwanzaa (nobody celebrates Kwanzaa), then you know what, I got no problem with it.  So long as the story is good, I don’t care if the protagonist is super mega African so in touch with his African heritage that he wears some REALLY ridiculous clothes.  Or has a lip disk.  Whatever.  I want good games.

That’s what gamers want – good games.  It’s why we all loved Horizon: Zero Dawn, even though everyone says that gamers hate female protagonists.  It’s why Mafia III wasn’t looked upon so poorly because of it’s racial element, but because of the lackluster gameplay.  It’s why you have fighting game tournaments where people of all ethnic backgrounds gather.  Because gaming IS inclusive.  We want good games.  I tell you what, What Culture, you find me a developer who makes to make a game that is so ethnically diverse that it has a genderqueer ponykin, then if it’s actually a good game I will play it.

Oh right, you had that opportunity.  We got that point-and-click housecleaning simulator.  You know what I mean.

Until next time, a quote,

“Perhaps you’re giving the krogan too little credit, or the salarians too much.” – Commander Shepherd, Mass Effect 2

Peace out,


Lucien’s Review: Shadow of the Colossus (Remastered)

I remember when I was a lot younger playing the original game on my old PS2.  It was a game that helped redefine the medium as not just mindless entertainment, but as a new art form.  It was a simple premise with some astounding execution.  Sure, there were some flaws, but the game did what it set out to do.  I don’t hold it as one of my favorites, but it is a good time.  Now Sony has come together to remaster it.  Does it measure up to the original, or is it just another game with a pretty paint job?  Let’s talk about it.

Like I said, the premise is simple.  A young man takes a girl who has died to a distant land, where he heard there is a powerful force that can bring her back to life.  The force says that if he wants to resurrect her, he will need to kill 16 colossi.  That’s it.  I honestly like that.  It doesn’t force a whole bunch of unnecessary backstory in there.  You learn all you need to know, and then the story plays out.

The first thing to say about this game is the visually it is a marvel.  The effects have been brought forward with astounding clarity.  It’s unlike anything else you’re going to see.  On the PS4 Pro you have the option between visual fidelity and 60fps.  With the visuals cranked up, this game looks unbelievable.  The marketing all pimped out how great this looks and they weren’t kidding.

It also has this mode where you can take stills of scenes for screenshots and you can mess around with the visuals of it.  That’s kinda cool.  Caught myself playing with it for some of the epic views in this game.  Got to have a lot of fun with that.  It’s something you can completely miss, but for those who want it, it is a nice distraction.

What you need to know is that this game is not only a very simple premise but there are NO bells and whistles.  This game’s entire premise is about killing the colossi, and that’s all you are going to do.  I am glad they didn’t have this be a full-priced game.  It feels worth it for the price they asked for.  If you are looking for a game that will give you countless hours of entertainment, you’ve gone to the wrong place.  If that’s a deal-breaker for you, stop now.

Since this game is essentially 16 boss fights, the challenge comes from finding the weaknesses of these monsters and then exploiting it.  Each boss is unique.  Everyone has their favorites.  Mine are the ones involving flying.  Both the giant bird and the giant sky serpent are phenomenal battles.  I like how they really amped up the visuals of the boss you fight in the water by making it glow in places.  Kinda wish they had done that for some others, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Here’s where I get into my biggest gripe with the game – one reason I was genuinely apprehensive about this was that I was REALLY hoping that they would fix some of the control issues from the original game that did NOT age well at all.  The biggest being the handling of the horse.  That thing will fight with you the entire time.  And I’m sorry to say that they didn’t address that hardly at all.  They made mounting the horse easier, but that’s about it.  It genuinely feels like all of their shift on this was to focus on the visuals and not on the gameplay elements that really do show this game’s age.  That is a problem, and one that keeps bugging you as you have bosses where you have to depend on your horse and it is still fighting you.  Very frustrating.

Overall, this isn’t a masterpiece by any measure.  It’s a fun game that you can put on to marvel at the visuals and have some fun killing creatures vastly larger than yourself.  I don’t hate it, I don’t love it, but it’s fine.  Kind of a short review, but I don’t really have anything else to say.  It’s good.  It’s a perfectly fine game that didn’t recapture the magic of the original, but was fun to play.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,



SIONR: Amy Hennig Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About

I hate when people inside the industry trash-talk elements of it and pull things right out of their ass.  EA shut down Visceral Games, an action that had a lot of gamers going “well, they got the EA treatment.”  As Bioware will after Anthem has more lootbox bullshit and gamers give it the finger.  It was genuinely nice to see gamers be able to come together after the disaster that was Battlefront II and be able to vote with their wallets against this sort of thing.  EA will be bringing the microtransactions back in that game, everyone knows that, but the real question is what will happen with Anthem.  I have no intention of playing that game.  I don’t do online MMOs.  But a lot of people are speculating that just like Battlefront II, Anthem has a lot of its gameplay elements centered around lootboxes.  Given that now the gaming public is openly fighting back against this, EA’s cash cow might also bleed money.

Which brings us to Amy Hennig.  After months of her Star Wars project being destroyed, she finally sat down for an interview and really tore into gamers.  In her mind, EA was somewhat justified in destroying her project, saying that gamers who claim that we like single-player games are not putting our money where our mouths are.  She says that last year had games like Wolfenstein 2 and The Evil Within 2 which both reviewed well and had poor sales.

Here’s the thing, Amy – I don’t know if you are aware of this, but people like me only have so much money.  I don’t have the capital to waste of things that I don’t like.  With my adulting costs, medical costs, and things like like, I don’t have the money to buy all the games that sound good.  I have to buy the ones that I really think are worth my time, and I’m selective about that.  It’s not like I get the money back if it was a bad investment.  I’m sorry that that means that I bought Horizon: Zero Dawn and Persona 5 instead of those other games.

Then she decided that she was going to say that EA is justified in its business practices because the cost of making games is too high, and it’s use gamers who are responsible for that.  Apparently, we are the ones demanding visual fidelity get higher and higher.  This statement bugs me on so many levels.  See, I have argued, many, many times, the I don’t need the most massive fidelity in order to like a game.  My favorite game of 2015 used pastel colors and very low textures intentionally to create a style all its own.  While I do believe the facial animations could have been improved, it was still a fun game with its own style that did not cost an arm and a leg to make.

I wish that more game devs would try unique things with the visuals in the medium instead of just subscribing to the most high-def design.  Take cues from Mirror’s Edge or JRPGs or Borderlands.  But even without that, I don’t need the most cutting edge amazing graphics to like a game.  Just give me expressive characters and a good narrative.  Is that so fucking hard?  Who are these people who demand the graphics be so insanely detailed and rich at all times?  I need to know who these people are and tell them that they are part of a problem.

Here’s another thing, Amy, if you want to make a statement about that, then lead the fucking charge!  Make a game where you use a different visual style.  Have it be all its own and show gamers that something different can be just as good as something that costs astronomically more to make.  Then we can stop having EA fuck with us and you fucking defending them!  Because these companies aren’t doing this because of rising costs.  They are still making astronomical profits, you fucking moron!  They are doing it because of greed.  They’re doing it because they see games like Grand Theft Auto Online and Destiny and they want to get in on that insanely lucrative pie.

It is occurring to me that linear, story-focused games may be dying in the AAA space.  I personally miss when devs were willing to make a AA game that could have a small budget and take more risks.  We are seeing some devs be willing to risk that.  Or they are willing to take their time and get things right.  But Hennig believing that the greedy and destructive practices is gamers’ fault bugs me.  This woman sounds bitter about her game being cancelled, and I get that.  I really do.  It must be so hard to watch something you put your heart and soul into die.  She said as much in the interview, not knowing how much creative energy she has left.  That’s sad to hear.  I hope she goes back to Sony, who has shown that they are not going to be abandoning the story-driven game.

What will gaming be in ten years?  I’ve said before that if story-driven single player games die, I’m done.  That will be when I leave the industry.  I don’t know how many people are with me.

Until next time, a quote,

“There’s so much grey to every story. Nothing is black and white.” – Lisa Ling

Peace out,



The Relationship Development Issue in Gaming

You know what I hate – when a series of games allows me to develop relationships, yet it feels like they aren’t complete by the end.  Or there is something flawed in them.  I’m going to be talking about two examples here, but there are more.  Lots more.  See, for whatever reason, game developers have a gift at making games where the relationship is developing really nicely, but then totally botch it later on because you don’t see real development.  For my two examples, I think there are different reasons, but I think it is something worth addressing.  Let me get into my examples.  That will help illuminate what I mean.

Mass Effect

In my initial run of this series, I had Shepherd going after Liara.  They were a totally cute couple.  Femshep was my character of choice, namely because Jennifer Hale had 1000X more personality than the guy who did male Shepard’s voice.  I don’t know why they picked so bland a guy, but he was dull as dirt.  Femshep was an interesting character.  And the romance between these two was cute.  I genuinely like both characters, so I wanted to see them together.  For the first game, the development of their relationship really felt genuine.  Liara doesn’t understand humans, so her bond with Shepard feels very exploratory for both of them.  Her being an alien is addressed as well.  It’s neat stuff.  We get to learn about her species and her character at the same time.

The second game rolls around, and this felt really good.  When you see Liara again, she’s become someone else.  The time apart has had a real effect on your relationship.  There is real distance that you are unable to address.  I like that when you see her again, she wordlessly says something to you and there is intimacy before she has to shut it down.  Then you get the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, and the distance between them is beautifully addressed.  I genuinely loved that.  The way the tension builds and builds until it all blows up and she acknowledges the feelings that were always there is just fantastic.  But they also address the reality that what Shepard is involved in is violent.  He/she could be killed at any moment.  That’s hard when you want to build a future.

Then we get the third game, and here is where my gripes come in.  Shepard has been incarcerated for months, and then are reunited with Liara on Mars.  That should have been a very intense scene.  A lot of emotional outpouring should have happened.  But it’s fine.  I can handle the little gripes.  My biggest gripe is that it really feels like the game is sending you back to square one with their relationship.  Why?  After having been together for years, these two should really be in a place where they are looking at their future and thinking about something more.  Liara talked about it at the end of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC.  She wanted to know what Shepard was hoping for with their future.  Now here you are, and she asks if you want to pick up where you left off.  Of course I said yes.

And yet, from that dialogue, it feels like you two are distant again.  Why?  You just said that you wanted to continue where you left off, after having addressed building a romantic future between you.  Shepard even joked about marriage and making babies with her.  So why does it feel like I’m having to win her back?  There should be more closeness between them that was tragically missing in a lot of scenes.

I said that I believe I have an explanation for why.  Here’s what I think happened in this game – they had to leave it open to the player wanting to go another route.  So they give you a chance to set things up with another character.  But see, that makes no goddamn sense.  Because Liara asks you if you want to pick up where things were left.  If you said yes, that should have just locked the player into that arc.  I know it’s cheating player choice, but you gave them the chance to back out.  It’s on them if they chose not to.  To see their relationship grow to something where they are talking about making babies and building a future together, maybe having the last scene be Liara asking Shepard to marry her.  To have that be the culmination of their emotional arc would have been fantastic.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it did have some closure in the Citadel DLC.  I really loved how they treated their relationship there.  Still, in a game all about building a narrative journey across three games, that seems like a no-brainer in developing that to see where it ultimately goes.  Would make Shepard’s passing in the end (if you chose one of the stupider endings like taking over the Reapers or the Synthesis ending which is bafflingly stupid) even more intense.  Seeing Liara in a room sobbing as all the chance to see her girlfriend survive is lost.  Of course, if the ending to the series hadn’t been so fucking stupid, we could have had options to have Shepard live.  I’ve already bitched about that enough.  Wrote a whole post about it.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Now, the original game had its own issues with a lackluster ending.  See, the original game had it where the only time the game would acknowledge Max and Chloe’s relationship is if you pick the ending where you let her die.  That bugs me.  But that’s nothing compared to how annoyed I am at this game.

See, the crux of what made this prequel work is building up the relationship between Rachel and Chloe.  You had to be careful how you set it up.  The wrong things said could derail all the romantic elements you are going for.  I liked that.  Made my investment seem like it was worth something.  Seeing how you go from acquaintances, to how fast these two can fall in love, it wasn’t like some Disney 3-day romance.  Here it feels like two people drawn together by a love that was beyond either of their control.  Which culminated in the second game to them kissing in a scene that was legit wonderful.  Especially after the amazing stage scene I got to have between them where Rachel pretty much says that she has feelings for Chloe in a way where it fits with the play at hand.

But then we get to the last episode.  This bothered me.  These two just made out, and all the momentum is in their relationship.  It felt like they should really be under the spell.  But nope.  The plot got in the way, in all the worst ways.  There were narratives that had to be wrapped up, and this game did it in such a piss-poor way.  It should have ended with Rachel meeting her mother.  Or maybe a plot about Sera being involved in bad things and the game acknowledging that.  Could have left things open for a sequel where the two meet her, and you have to figure out what to do next.  Options are there.

Instead, the game treats them both like they are friends.  The only time they acknowledge what happened in the last episode was via text.  Are you kidding me?!  Young love here, idiots!  Stupid teenager who should be all hormones and passion.  Granted, some serious shit happened with the revelation of Sera’s relationship to Rachel, but this game spent so much time grounding these two’s relationship as the center of the narrative, then totally ditched that.  It’s frustrating, to say the least.

Once again, I think I have an explanation.  See, in the game that this is a prequel to, the relationship between Rachel Amber and Chloe is deliberately ambiguous.  I was at first assuming it is so you can see in this what it was all like.  But since this prequel had to keep to the canon of the original (for reasons I will never understand.  There are so many narrative reasons around that with alternate timelines), it couldn’t let you be definitive about it.  Doesn’t help that I ostensibly set up Chloe to find out that Rachel was cheating on her with Frank.  Ouch.

So what do you think?  Why is it that game devs seem to have an issue bringing resolution to relationships in a game or game series.  Some do it better than others.  The relationship between Chris and Ashley in Until Dawn had some resolution if both of them lived to see the end.  I dug that.  And don’t even get me started about how they fucked the relationship between Femshep and Garrus.  That just bugged me!  Between games should have been nothing for them.  Anyway, that’s my thoughts.  Let me know yours in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

I don’t think you can analyze love. It’s the greatest mystery of all. No one knows why it happens, or doesn’t. Love is a chance combination of elements. Any one thing might be enough to keep it from igniting – a mood, a glance… a remark. And if we could define love, predict it – it would probably lose its power.” -Neelix, Star Trek: Voyager

Peace out,



Lucien’s Review: Life is Strange: Before the Storm – Episode 3

Ugh.  I don’t know what it is with game creators and stories with player choice.  For whatever reason, it seems that the vast majority of devs who make them find it difficult to end them in a way that reflects player choice.  But I don’t think that was the problem here.  I think the problem with ending this particular game is the fact that it has a continuity that it has to fit into, because it’s a prequel to another game.  And this game gave you the ability to completely break that continuity if you so chose.  Which I did.  I’m going insanely into spoilers, just a head’s-up.  If you don’t like that, get out now.  This episode had other problems too, which I am going to get into.  Let’s talk about it.

Here is a big issue – the first two acts of this game are done with such a mastery that it really blows my mind.  No joke, I was on the edge of my seat and feeling the feels in a big way.  It goes along with the narrative that it was so perfectly crafting.  Which makes the third act of this game and how far it dies that much more frustrating.  But my frustration with the third act comes from other places as well.

This is where I get into spoilers.  So anyone who doesn’t like that is advised to leave now.  For starters, what is the deal with the confrontation with Eliot?  That was bad!  Some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen.  It comes right the fuck out of nowhere!  So I’m just supposed to believe that he is secretly a crazy stalker who has a domestic violence complex when all the events up to now have told me he’s the sad friendzoned guy, based on the choices I made?  That makes no damn sense.  It was conflict needlessly thrown in there to add tension.  Or maybe to justify him not being in the game that follows this one.  I don’t know.  But that entire scene annoyed me to no end.

Next, why was the relationship I was cultivating with Rachel never acknowledged in the end?  That bugged me.  The previous game had Rachel and Chloe making out by my choices.  Why does it not have any amount of emotional intimacy between them.  It really doesn’t.  You could easily make the argument that they are just good friends based on how their interactions go.  Why?  This episodes goes out of its way to not say anything definitive about how their relationship is.  I know why – because of continuity.

And now we finally get into my biggest gripe with this episode – keeping the continuity.  See, here’s the thing: I broke that.  I broke the continuity of the game that follows it pretty damn hard.  With the choices I made, after a genuinely touching scene of David trying to reach out to Chloe, I had her finally choosing to make peace with him and set up a legitimate relationship for the family.  So they were on the path to becoming a real family, minus all the animosity.  Thus helping to set up a psychological balance with Chloe to help her heal.  Next, I put Nathan on the path to becoming a better person.  He had a real friend who was kind to him and treating him like he wasn’t a piece of shit.  That would set him on the path of becoming a better person and not needing Mr. Jefferson for his twisted fantasies.  Lastly, at the very end, I lied to Rachel about what transpired and the truth about her father being a real piece of shit.  That led her to having a very good relationship with her family that wouldn’t have had her and Chloe desperately looking to escape still.  Not to mention, I had set up in the previous episode that they would be heading to New York and not LA.  Since she wouldn’t have been self-destructive, there would be no reason for Rachel to be in Mr. Jefferson’s Dark Room.  Not to mention, since I had built up the relationship with her and Chloe so strongly (at least I thought I had), she’d have no reason for fooling around with Frank.  Unless she decided to cheat on her.

Do you see the problem?  The developers decided that it was better to keep the continuity intact than to allow player choice to dictate how the game goes.  Because, as I said, they had to keep to the continuity.  That’s bullshit!  If you are going to market a game as having player choice, respect their agency.  Yeah, I retconned the lore of the game that chronologically follows this one.  So what?  The original game, ironically enough, is an iron ball around the ankle of this one.  And that is unfortunate.

What’s even more ironic is that there is such an easy way around this!  Just have the continuity errors be Max in the future changing the past.  One of the bullshit endings to the game has it where Max goes back in time and lets Chloe die, ostensibly stopping all of the rest of the plot from happening.  The idea is that if Chloe had died, Max would never have gotten her powers, and none of the events that followed would have happened.  Even though, Max already fucking did that when she went back in time further than the events of the story and told David about Mr. Jefferson’s fucking Dark Room, which should have caused the same result!  Ugh!  I still hate the ending to the original game.  So yeah, if the idea was to stop the events of what followed after Max saw Chloe die, then anything she would do back in time before then to stop the events should work.  In other words, just have a bit where you see Max in Seattle having gone really far back and changing the timeline.  Then you can fuck around wherever you like.  A game with time travel allows for that.  Or have it be an alternate timeline Max created in time travel.  There are plenty of easy ways for this to work, and it doesn’t.

So, do I hate this episode?  I hate the final act, but just like the one that came before, everything leading up to that was pretty great stuff.  I guess you can make your own judgements on it from there.

Final Verdict
First two acts: 8 out of 10

Last act: 3 out of 10

Peace out,



Lucien’s Worst Game of 2017

You know what I hate?  When a good idea is taken and used in something really, really boring.   To have something with so much potential just get flushed down the shitter.  It’s worse when it involves talented people too.  Because when something is boring and made by people you don’t care about, then you can just say that it tried something and failed and maybe they can do better next time.  But when it’s something where all the people involved are very talented, it makes you wonder what went wrong.  My least favorite game this year isn’t especially bad, it’s just inordinately dull.  And I genuinely don’t get how it can be as dull as it is with the elements in it.


I just can’t get over how a game with this much potential was such a snooze.  Set in a post-apocalyptic world where corporations rule everything and nations are now just corporate zones, where there are special kinds of cops who are able to get inside people’s minds.  That should be a recipe for success.  The potential of that is overwhelming.  We could have it asking some dark ethical questions, like when the main character goes into the minds of people who don’t want to be invaded, or what constitutes invasion of privacy when this guy is uncovering people’s weird secrets and has to live with that.  There is a lot of creepy places that this idea could go.  But nope,  It’s just a boring, bland, by-the-numbers horror game.

Why did they feel the need to have segments where you are hiding from a monster?  Because they’ve done it in all their other games?  This game was supposed to be about fear coming from going into the dark parts of people’s minds.  That’s a freaky concept.  The fear potential there is amazing.  Remember that god-awful movie The Cell?  Imagine if that concept didn’t suck and was done right.  Being able to jack in, with your own mind coloring the mind of the person you are in.  It would make more sense why the observers get so fucked up after a while.  They can’t handle the strain of being in a person’s mind that way.  Plus, you could see all kinds of people and how they process fear in different ways.  Maybe if this game had more budget or more time in the oven with ideas this could have gone a long way.

The game has you investigating crime scenes, and that’s actually fun!  Using your cybernetic implants to look at things in different ways is really cool.  But it’s all done so quickly and doesn’t go much of anywhere.  This game is too short for its own good.  Maybe with a AAA budget they could have really gone deep into this concept.  I don’t know.

But by far the most disappointing thing to me was that they got Rutger Hauer involved in this.  That’s some damn big talent right there!  And to his credit, he was interesting in the performance.  It didn’t sound like he was phoning it in.  I hate that such a talented man wasn’t being given the chance to reach his full potential.  Like seeing into some homely Christian’s head and realizing all the fucked up things there are in there, and then having to go into some deranged lunatic’s mind and seeing all the whacked shit in there.  Getting to hear his reactions to some of that kind of thing would be interesting.

Overall, it’s just boring.  Bad games are one thing.  They can be annoying.  But I don’t go looking for that.  Too poor to spend that kind of time and money.  I look for games I am going to like, and this game was supposed to be one of the.  The trailers had me really interested.  The end product, however, was a game too short to be interesting and with some insane voice talent that goes nowhere.  It’s more annoying than anything.

What was the game you liked the least this year?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“This better be worth it.” – Daniel Lazarski, Observer

Peace out,