RAB: Anita Sarkeesian’s Hitman Argument is Stupid

I’m bored on a Friday night and tired of doing nothing with me life.  So here I am, on my website, drinking pina colada and doing nothing with my life.  As I drank this wonderful concoction, a thought came to me – Anita Sarkeesian’s argument about Hitman is stupid.  Like, really stupid.  Her Damsels in Distress video has a scene from Hitman: Absolution where you can go into the room with the strippers and kill them and drag them around the floor.  Her argument was that the player sees the bodies as something to just use and throw away and how that’s a reflection on men in general.  Let’s not even get into the how the game penalizes you for attacking civilians.  Anita says that argument doesn’t work because the game should have a fail state if you do that.  Well, that is dumb.  After all, if the game failed you because you killed a target who isn’t the one you are after then it would never work.  There are plenty of times you’re going to have to whack the bad guys.  Besides, these arguments have been taken on by everyone.  I had a new thought.

Let’s ignore Hitman: Absolution.  That game was terrible.  It totally betrayed everything that made the series good.  Let’s instead look at the new game.  You know, the one that was such a financial disappointment to Square Enix that they are selling the company who made it.  Yeah, the second season is never happening.  In the new game, who is Agent 47?  He’s no one.  He’s a weapon, in every sense of the word.  He will not act unless he gets explicit permission.  From whom?  Well, that would be his handler – Diana.  At no point will he act unless she gives him permission to do so.  Everything he does is directly at her request.  In essence, in their dynamic she has all the power.  All of it.  47 has no agency is his own story.  When she tells him that there is a potential threat, he even says that it is her issue to deal with, he’s just waiting for a target.

For a game all about the “male power fantasy,” it sure is interesting that a woman has every single ounce of the power in the relationship, isn’t it?  I kind of like that.  It’s what made Absolution so frustrating.  47 isn’t meant to have any power over his own fate.  His entire life he was trained to be a weapon to be used by others.  It’s all he knows.  If feminists knew the first thing about nuance, they might think about things like that.

Honestly don’t have anywhere else I was going with that.  I just find it interesting that the character Anita believes is guilty of treating women like objects doesn’t acknowledge that aside from terrible games, he is just a tool to be used by an agency and a woman who has the deadliest assassin in the world at her tool for getting things done.

Until next time, a quote,

“Someone’s playing a game, 47.  The question is – against whom?” – Diana, Hitman

Peace out,

Maverick

Zoe Quinn Harasses ‘The Last Night’ Director For Supporting #GamerGate

Oh look, it’s everyone’s favorite professional victim who is back to wear her victimhood like a badge of honor even though the Internet forgot about her years ago.  And since she can’t just sit back and let herself fall into obscurity like the vulture that she is, when the director of a new game that looks pretty cool came out and she found out through her information network that he had said positive things about the now-defunct culture war #GamerGate, she had to get her little army of minions to go out and attack him.  I am, of course, talking about the director or The Last Night.

See, the director of that game actually believes that ethical standards in games journalism is something worth fighting for, and that the world of Indie games is a toxic circlejerk of multi-colored hair warriors who have to suck each other off so hard.  And since Zoe Quinn hasn’t been in the public eye in so long, just like Brianna Wu she had to get the old victim train going.  Also just like Brianna Wu, Zoe is a cunt-rag who tries to play off what at terrible person she is as everyone just being mean to her.

Let’s take a look at the narrative she paints for herself.  According to her, she was the tragic victim of a horrible man who chose to slut-shame her and paint the scarlet letter on her in the public square.  And ever since she has been the victim of virtually non-stop abuse by all the evil people of the Internet.  That’s the narrative that she paints.  The same one that her and her more-successful professional victim comrade Anita Sarkeesian painted in front of the UN while they argued that the Internet should have everyone who disagrees with them removed.  Not that Zoe would know what it’s like for people to disagree with her.  Her echo chamber is so massive that she lives in it.  Every time that she has even slightly ventured out of it the weight of her lies almost destroyed her.

What is the truth?  Simple – her ex-boyfriend Eron wrote a hugely-long post where he laid out how betrayed he felt by her.  Among the endless reasons why was the fact that she had been cheating on him, with five people.  Mundane’s Matt and Internet Aristocrat’s video of what happened led her to being the catalyst to the online culture war known as #GamerGate.  And very quickly Zoe became forgotten amongst the far more interesting topics at hand.  Topics like the fact that several of the people who she had cheated on Eron with were people who had covered in the games media before.  In fact Nathan Grayson became a far more interesting topic than she ever was.  All she did was create a boring video game about living with depression.  A choose-your-adventure game about depression.  Yeah, sounds like a recipe for great “gameplay.”

After the storm that was GamerGate died down, Zoe found herself in the media in other ways.  Like how she was busted red-handed leading a online blitzkrieg of attacks against Candace Owens.  There had been a blog post where she laid out what had happened, and how she was able to put together that Zoe was directly responsible for the attacks against her.  A really scum-fuck thing to do.  As I said, she went to the UN, where she desperately tried to sell that the Internet still sent daily hate to her, even though it is easily-provable that the Internet moved on from her not long after the hashtag #GamerGate was founded by Adam Baldwin.  Given how she was able to generate an attack against Candace Owens through mysterious anonymous sources, it’s not hard to think that probably most of the hate she has ever received was from the same sock-puppet accounts.

Oh, and let’s not forget the leaked chat logs from Crash Override Network, Zoe’s little circlejerk of victimhood that showed that she had actively sabotaged the Rebel Game Jam she had been a part of in order to cash in on the social justice points and make herself look good while the rest of them look bad.  I still believe the person who sponsored that event should sue her.  Or how she doxxed and ruined the Fine Young Capitalist’s fundraising event to help promote women in gaming, which she didn’t like because they weren’t promoting her.  And just like all feminists with a sense of entitlement up her non-existent ass, she had to make them pay for not making everything in that project about her.  But again, she’s a victim.  Not a scum-fuck.

Now she has turned her refusal to let her 15 minutes of shame die into an attack against someone who hasn’t done thing one against her other than support an online movement.  That’s it.  That’s all he did.  Then Notch had to go and take the Internet’s ire by calling her a cunt.  Which, you know, she is.  Indefensibly so.  Zoe Quinn is a cunt with a capital C.  She is a horrible person who wanted to make a game that was neatly stealing the show at E3 about her.  Because why shouldn’t a big game reveal be about her?  And of course the parasites at Feminist Frequency have come out in support of her.  Why not.

Zoe, you are a cunt.  You are a terrible person.  I don’t lightly use that term, but it describes you perfectly.  What’s more, you actually believed you are owed something for the fact that people see you for what you are after all of the debacle that you were barely a part of.  You believe that you are owed.  That just blows my fucking mind.  Zoe Quinn feels that the Internet owes HER for the shit she has pulled.  No, Zoe!  You owe people an apology.  People like Eron, who had those of us who supported GamerGate donate to his defense fund, which when you realized that the trial didn’t make you look good you dropped.  People like Candace Owens, who busted you dead to rights for a campaign of doxing and harassment through sock puppet accounts.  There are so many people who you owe.  But you won’t.  After all, admitting wrongdoing just fucks with the narrative.  Can’t have that.  Then you might start self-reflection and that might just lead you to realize what a fucking piece of shit you are.

Until next time, a quote,

“Mr Worf, villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot.  Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged.” – Capt. Picard

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Life is Strange: Before the Storm Premier Trailer

I’ve made no secret that the original game is my favorite game of 2015.  Aside from the ending, which is stupid on so many levels that it forced me to do a rewrite which is on this site if you want to look for it, I loved it.  The game is truly phenomenal.  And just like Mass Effect 3, I don’t let the fact that the ending is pants-on-head retarded stop me from loving the rest of the franchise.  However, when I heard there was a sequel episodic series coming out, I was more than a little worried.  I mean, where are they going to go with the franchise?  I had games where I both saved and let Chloe die, so are they going to pick up with Max back in Seattle?  Where could this go?  Are we FINALLY going to get an answer to what Max’s power is and how it works?  That’s the biggest question I have after the series so that could be a little interesting.

But today Microsoft decided to unveil the latest season at their press conference.  And…I don’t know what to think.  Let’s take a look at the trailer and then talk about it.

Okay, so we have Chloe, who is one of my favorite female characters of all time, voiced by an amazing voice actress who I also loved in Horizon: Zero Dawn.  She’s in her room, smoking.  I can see the art style is the same, but it does look a lot more detailed.  The facial animations in-particular, which was my biggest gripe with this style.

She’s sitting there, smoking, and we see a raven land on her windowsill.  The previous game had a thing about the blue butterfly that Max took a pic with.  Is that the way it is with the raven?  In all mediums the raven has symbolized death.  A theory just came to me, but I want to keep going before we talk about it.

There’s a montage of things happening, and one of the things that gets my attention is her being in a car with her father when he is hit by a train.  Is that a dream sequence?  If it’s not, then it makes my theory have suddenly a lot more credibility.  There are things like a tree burning, and Chloe climbing the steps of Blackwell Academy with a sign about good luck seniors.  More Chloe being angsty and shit, but always alone.  That interests me.  The previous game made it seem like her and Rachel Amber were nigh-inseparable.

Here’s why I’m worried – part of me is thinking that all this is is just filling in Chloe’s backstory before the events of the game.  Why?  We already know what happened.  That would be stupid.  That would be the biggest waste of time and potential ever.  And the worst thing is that I’m going to buy the first episode to find out.  Because I have to know.  I have another theory, and I’m desperately hoping that it’s true.  If it really is as simple and dumb as what the title suggests, then I am honestly going to be nine kinds of done with Dontnod and their episodic games.

My theory is this – Chloe dies in so many of the timelines that Max has.  Whether it be in the beginning when Nathan shoots her, the junkyard where you can accidentally shoot her while playing with David’s gun, the alternate timeline if you have Max kill her when she asks her too, and at the very end if you choose to sacrifice her.  I always believed that the tornado was the alternate timelines Max created coming together to fuck up reality.  It made sense.  My theory is that this game has Chloe in the nether-space between timelines.  Like a space where nothing is real and she is desperate to escape.  Kinda like the world of the Nexus in Star Trek Generations.  That would be fascinating!  No joke, if they go that route then it makes sense why her reaction at the end where she sees Rachel is one of awe.  Like she can’t believe that she’s actually there.

But I am still worried that this is just rehashing a backstory we already know.  To Square Enix and Dontnod, if that is really the route you go, so help me Groj I will make the longest and most nit-picky post explaining why you are wasting gamers’ money that you have ever seen!  Not that you care, I’m sure, but hopefully my audience will care.  And I’m going to make sure all of you are told as fast as possible.  The first episode comes out August 31st.  Your move, Dontnod

Initial Verdict:
You Have My Attention

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back Teaser

This is more of an indictment of the video game industry and what a joke it has all become lately.  This year’s E3 honestly isn’t interesting me all that much.  I mean, what are the big new things coming up?  A sequel to the shit-tastic Destiny that I couldn’t possibly care less about but everyone seems to think is just so amazing.  Nintendo has their latest Mario clone that is just the same as the others but this time with an open world.  Neat, I guess?  Kojima’s latest project isn’t going to show, but that doesn’t surprise me.  He’s already said that hoping for a release date in 2018 is not happening so don’t bother.  From Software has already told people not to start hoping for a Bloodborne sequel, but are saying they have something new that people who love that will just love!  I bet.  Everything is a sequel or a remake.  I’m just not that interesting.

Sure, The Last of Us: Part 2 may make an appearance.  That would be cool.  Especially if there is gameplay footage.  I am also hoping for a release date for Detroit: Become Human to make an appearance too, but part of me figures that will be asking too much.  Then people are saying “but what about the remake for Final Fantasy VII?!” Did everyone just forget that that game will be released episodically?  And Square Enix is charging a full-priced game amount for each episode?  Yeah, fuck that noise.  I’m not giving them a cent.  I am not paying $180 for AAA game.  Not happening.  I can get a gaming console for cheaper.  I am just not feeling the magic.

Trailers like this certainly don’t help.

Really?  I mean, really?!  You’re rebooting Bubsy?  Who the fuck asked for this?!  Really, what person anywhere actually asked for this to be a thing?!  With all the franchises that could use being brought into the 21st century.  Like Spyro, or Shantae, or a ton of the old Disney platformers (the remake of the Duck Tales game was awesome!), or any of the games on this list (shameless pandering!), Bubsy is the one we get?!  Let’s analyze this.

We have this annoying cat thing speaking, in a voice that makes me want to tear my ears out.  Not off to a good start, game.  It talks about how the world has all these problems.  Sure, I am down that that.  One of them is the fact that a game studio I am shocked didn’t die with you brought you back to life.  No joke, I genuinely am amazed that the company who brought us Bubsy 3D didn’t go tits-up when the game died on the funeral pyre that was its existence.  But then it decides to tell us that we can ignore all that shit and instead focus on Bubsy!  Oh boy!  We then get to see some generic platforming.  Oh boy.  That sure does look like every other generic platformer that I have ever seen without a single thing that catches my interest.

The reality is that this game looks mediocre.  With all the great 2D characters who could be brought back to life like Gex or Shantae or Earthworm Jim or even Spyro, this is the loser that this company actually wanted to unearth from the gaming graveyard?  I will never understand.  If gaming is becoming another version of Hollywood, I fear for its future.  For real, I do.

Initial Verdict
5 out of 10 – Boring

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Unpopular Opinion: LGBT People Have No Right to Complain About Representation (In video games)

I read an article in some “news” site where they were complaining that the LGBT crowd (I limit my acronym to four letters.  Unless your acronym rolls off the tongue, you don’t get longer) don’t get enough representation in Hollywood.  One of my longest-running arguments against that sort of thing is that if they want to have more representation so bad, they should make their own stuff.  I mean, Stephen Universe came into being because SJWs wanted to make a cartoon.  Props to that.  However, thinking about films, I will at least acknowledge that it is harder.  After all, movies cost millions of dollars.  They take a ton of time and resources.  And while some filmmakers are able to do amazing things with the budget of a ham sandwich and balls of steel (that’s how one of my favorite movies Monsters got made), I at least will give that making movies is a hell of a venture so them making their own stuff would be more difficult.  Which would make me prouder still if some of the SJWs bitching about this decided to get together and make a film of their own.  Props.

However, I have no such sympathy for this argument when it comes to video games.  None whatsoever.  Why?  Because in a medium where it has been shown that making quality products can be made with smaller and smaller resources, these people bitching about their representation not being enough are fucking stupid.  After all, an Indie darling that was Kickstarter funded and got so big that it competed with AAA games at game awards was made by one guy.  One guy!  Most of you probably know what I’m talking about – Undertale.  That game was made entirely by one extraordinarily gifted individual.  One person can make a game so good that it competed against industry juggernauts at the Spike TV game awards.  What does that tell me?  It tells me that with the right people and enough effort, making truly fantastic games can be done on a shoestring budget with one person.

I can hear the counter-argument – but Lucien, games made by SJWs already have been ridiculed across the board!  What games?  Games like the cleaning-simulator Sunset?  Or maybe you are talking about the garbage fire that was Crypt Keeper Wu’s project Revolution 60?  In both of those games cases, the reason people hated them was because they are trash.  They sucked.  Their mechanics were dull and their respective elements were the absolute worst.  Which leads into my next – “what about Gone Home?  That game was all about a lesbian girl and people hated it!  Doesn’t that show you what people think of LGBT people in video games?!”  No.  See, the problem with that game was that it was hailed as this revolutionary piece of artwork and gaming prowess by the ENTIRE game’s media.  This was a status that the game simply didn’t deserve.  I actually happen to like games that are deemed “walking simulators,” but only I don’t call them perfect visionary masterpieces.  I will NEVER give a walking simulator as 10 out of 10 unless it transcends the medium in a way that has never been seen before.  The lost Silent Hills playable teaser is the closest that the genre has ever come.

So, what is the next counter-argument?  I think I hear it – “Making games is hard!  Why should we have to go so far out our way to learn this medium if we just want to play it?”  Because if you aren’t willing to get off your lazy ass and make something great on your own, then you have no right to complain that nothing is ever made for what you want.  The tools to make games are becoming more and more accessible now than ever before.  Game engines are out there in the public domain to make your own products.  One of my favorite Indie games was made in my home state by a team of eight programmers and a shoestring budget working with local natives.  Those people wanted to make a game about Alaskan Native culture and legend.  And guess what – they fucking did it!  After taking the time to learn and become incorporated, they did what they wanted and made the game they wanted to make.  Even made a tiny DLC for it that while it was super duper short, was still a cute story.

A person at one of my favorite Indie gaming companies broke away from them because he wanted to take on a mission that sounds utterly impossible – create a video game which is ENTIRELY a water level.  A concept that has so much negative history behind it that the fact that they made it at all is impressive.  But it was one of my favorite games of 2016 – ABZU.  These products are made by people who want to make the games that they do.  They left bigger companies because they had a vision and a drive to make it their own.  Are you honestly going to argue that the LGBT community does not?  I don’t buy that for a minute!  Not for one second do I believe that there aren’t tons of LGBT people who may work for the industry or want to learn it.  My sentiment is that I believe if they are wanting to make a game for their demographic, go for it!  Make it that best that you can.  And I may actually play it too.

But here’s the thing to keep in mind – pandering to a demographic means that your game is going to be niche.  That’s just how it is.  Unless you have the muscle of companies like Naughty Dog or Quantic Dream at your back, you won’t be able to hit the mainstream if you want a game that is going to be for a demographic you want to see represented more.  I say embrace that.  Some games do, and they are able to make a brand all their own.  Like how Telltale created the episodic point-and-click genre that will never be mainstream, but has its dedicated audience.  If you run with what kind of game you want to make and put enough effort and passion into making it a good product, even if you aren’t huge, you’ll still be liked.

Another piece of good advice – don’t read YouTube comments to see what people are going to think of your game when you start releasing trailers and the like for it.  YouTube comments is indicative of one thing and one thing only – cancer.  It’s a cancer on the Internet, and everyone who has been doing it for long enough knows that.  Expect the usual bigoted comments.  That’s just par for the course.  But here’s the thing – you’ll also get constructive ones.  I remember when the first trailer for Life is Strange came out.  Everyone was calling it “SJW: The Video Game.”  But I wasn’t convinced.  I wanted to see what the final product was before I condemned it like that.  It’s good that I gave it a chance, because despite the retarded-ass Mass Effect 3 levels of bad ending, it is my favorite game of 2015.

So if you got the grit to try and make your demographic represented in video games more, go for it.  But don’t expect the gaming audience to go easy on you if your game sucks.  We are a finicky bunch and if your game has flaws we will rip it to pieces.  But if it’s good, you will find an audience and can make your message heard.  I wish you luck.  No joke.  Even if you message is “Fuck straight white men,” if you make a product of your own, I support you doing so.  I wouldn’t like a product with that message, but at least I will support your right to make it.

In the meantime, for those in the LGBT community crying the blues about gaming not having them represented enough, learn to program with the Unity engine and get to work.  There is no excuse for you not to get involved if this is your passion and you want to see it change.  Don’t go expecting ANYONE to do it for you.

Until next time, a quote,

“You shouldn’t wait for other people to make special things happen.  You make your own memories.” – Heidi Klum

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Resident Evil Movies Getting a Six-Movie Reboot?! WHY?!

I don’t know how many of you know this, but the Resident Evil movies have sucked.  I can at least watch the first one because it has a couple genuinely scary moments, but the rest can’t even fall into the category of so bad they’re good.  They just suck.  They are cinematic abortions from first to last.  When I saw the preview for The Final Chapter, I was doing cartwheels because I finally thought that they were bringing an end to a series that NO ONE asked to go on this long.  No one.  People have been begging for this to end years ago.  Hell, the films aren’t even financially solvent, so why did this go on for so long?  Mysteries for the prophets.

But it seems that the films are already being planned for a six-film reboot.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this link and really soak in how stupid this is.  Naturally, it’s because of Germans that this abortion is being forced to keep going.  As they say, it’s brought in over $1.2 billion in profits.  For six films, with their level of production values, that actually seems pretty bad.  The article even says that the idea for six films is them milking it.  They want to suck this cash cow dry until there is absolutely nothing left.  I am in awe.

Can we please stop making video game movies?  I’m being serious.  These films suck.  Without a SINGLE exception, they all suck.  Everyone tried to defend the Warcraft film, but even then it was flimsy at best.  I can at least acknowledge that the original Silent Hill film was made by someone who at least loved the games and wanted to do right by them.  It still sucked, but there was at least a little heart.  More than most of this shit.  Video game films are becoming the bottom of the film barrel, and Hollywood is showing that they don’t care if film budgets are wasted making more of this garbage.  I honestly wish that Hollywood would realize that we need some originality in film.

Movies are getting so predictable.  I just got done watching Rogue One, and the whole time I’m like – something interesting is going to happen soon, right?  I liked Civil War, but that’s because it actually had heroes fighting each other.  That was unique.  But I am still tired of comic book movies.  Star War VII was a remake of the original with a check and even less fun.  None of the big movies even get my attention anymore.  And now they are releasing a new Pirate of the Caribbean film and I bet that film will die even more than the previous film did.  That franchise has been played out.  The only film I actually want to see coming out soon is Dunkirk, because it is being made by a direct who I know will make a film that isn’t just me watching a computer.

I know that there are people in Hollywood who have good ideas.  The problem is that studios are basically condemning them to never get anything made because all they care about is something easy to market.  Something that they can put out there and know there will be a return of investment.  It’s why we have Transformers VI, Star Wars: Independent Story Nobody Cared About, Cars 3, and other equally-uninteresting films that will still make a ton of money because the audience in this country is retarded.

And while we’re on the subject, can we PLEASE stop with these reboots?!  I am fucking sick of films that play on nostalgia as the only way to keep you in the seats.  All of these films just make me realize how much I loved the original.  That’s it.  I groan when I see a previews to another franchise or something that I loved being turned into a cash-grab.  Thankfully, these films are becoming less and less financially successful, which hopefully can give the six-figure salaries and two-digit IQs in Hollywood a clue that this crap is played out.

In the meantime, fuck this latest reboot.  I haven’t seen one of these films in years, and I am not going to now.  Who are the idiots who keep watching this shit?  I honestly want to know.

Until next time, a quote,

“Running out of ideas will put in you the dark until death.” – Cambodian Proverb

Peace out,

Maverick

Another Pseudo-Intellectual Wants to Talk About Video Games (A response to Ian Bogost)

I just love all these people with degrees from prestigious schools and 2-digit IQs telling me what video games are lacking.  It’s so charming.  These people who want to pretend like they got it all figured out, and then use the latest buzzwords to be able to bolster their arguments that sound like sophistry at best.  Is this lexicon verbose enough for you?  Our latest pseudo-intellectual wants to make sure that he sounds very smart while he talks about how videos really shouldn’t have stories, all the while ripping off arguments that Roger Ebert was proven wrong about 10 years ago.  It’s charming, in its own stupid way.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s rip this bitch to pieces.

A longstanding dream: Video games will evolve into interactive stories, like the ones that play out fictionally on the Star Trek Holodeck. In this hypothetical future, players could interact with computerized characters as round as those in novels or films, making choices that would influence an ever-evolving plot. It would be like living in a novel, where the player’s actions would have as much of an influence on the story as they might in the real world.

First off, I don’t want games to be the Holodeck.  I’m not into VR.  Second, for the most part, the part about making an ever-evolving plot has already happened.  I’ve played it out dozens of times.  Whether it be something very linear, or something where I have choices and agency, I am able to help shape a narrative with the games I play.  Already there, skippy.  I look forward to what will be your solid reasoning for why that isn’t the case.

It’s an almost impossible bar to reach, for cultural reasons as much as technical ones.

Neat fact – immediately after this sentence, there is nothing about this for ages.  He goes on and on about how environmental storytelling works, but right when he makes a substantive point, he doesn’t go into greater detail.  I mean, if you are going to say why this bar is impossible to reach, shouldn’t you then follow that up with something about why this milestone is so impossible?  But let’s get into what he says about environmental storytelling and how it shapes a narrative.

The approach raises many questions. Are the resulting interactive stories really interactive, when all the player does is assemble something from parts? Are they really stories, when they are really environments? And most of all, are they better stories than the more popular and proven ones in the cinema, on television, and in books?

Well, yeah.  That’s easy to prove.  You use Bioshock as an example, a game with a very developed and rich lore with characters who you come to care about strictly from hearing about their trials in the city.  I’ve never met them, but there are some characters in the audio logs who was I sad to see go when you learn of their ultimate fate.  It was just another twisted end to a frankly depressing game.

Or let’s talk about my favorite game of 2015 – Life is Strange.  In that game, you look at pretty much everything around you and it tells stories.  You can see Chloe’s decent into a punk rock girl after her father died.  You can see her family with all their financial troubles and personal ones.  You can learn that David isn’t quite the asshole he seems, finding his book on recovering from war that he has read many times.  These things provide a richer canvas to the game’s narrative, which you grow to care about.  It’s what makes the fact that your choices ultimately don’t matter in the end that much more frustrating.

I think I see your problem – you are trying to make a direct comparison between video games and other visual mediums like film and television.  But you can’t do that.  I don’t play a game with the same mindset as I read a book or watch a movie.  I expect elements to be interactive and give me at least some agency in being a part of.  It doesn’t have to be everything.  As I said, I don’t want the Holodeck.  I just want a narrative that I feel immersed in.  My favorite games are ones where I feel like I was a part of the action.  It can still be linear and accomplish this, so long as the characters are well-developed and the world immerses me enough to want to see the story through.  Gaming is an interactive experience, not a purely visual one.  I didn’t like Metal Gear Solid IV because it felt like I had no agency.  60% of the time I was just watching the film play.  That’s not how games work.  For someone who purports to have a very rich understanding of the medium, this fact seemed to escape you.

In retrospect, it’s easy easy to blame old games like Doom and Duke Nukem for stimulating the fantasy of male adolescent power. But that choice was made less deliberately at the time. Real-time 3-D worlds are harder to create than it seems, especially on the relatively low-powered computers that first ran games like Doom in the early 1990s. It helped to empty them out as much as possible, with surfaces detailed by simple textures and objects kept to a minimum. In other words, the first 3-D games were designed to be empty so that they would run.

Okay…why did the male adolescent power line come up?  What did ANY of what followed in that paragraph have to do with men?  Are you clumsily setting the stage for where you blame men for video games being whatever way you don’t like?  I can see that coming from a mile away.  That is bad writing, dude.  If you want to take the Anita Sarkeesian route of saying men are pure evil in video games, then at least TRY and make it feel more natural.

The dude goes on and on for paragraphs about how environments in games aren’t realistic enough and that npc’s are all basically just going off a script, which I guess is supposed to mean that you can’t seem them as real.  Well…duh. I don’t see the vendor in Persona 5 selling me DVDs as a real person.  I’m not supposed to.  Half of this dude’s diatribes reek of a person who doesn’t actually have a lot of experience in this medium.  Or someone who is playing games with an agenda.  Seeing as how he brought up men in this article, I get the feeling him and Anita share similar social views.,

Environmental storytelling offers a solution to this conundrum. Instead of trying to resolve the matter of simulated character and plot, the genre gives up on both, embracing scripted action instead. The player’s experience becomes that of a detective, piecing together narrative coherence from fragments conveniently left behind in the game’s physical environment.

Well yeah, games that use environmental story-telling do have some convenience to them.  So do books and films.  After all, it sure was convenient that Tony Stark found out about the dead interpreter in Civil War, isn’t it?  Or it’s convenient that no one asked who had actually heard the main character say “Rosebud” in Citizen Kane when no one was clearly in the room.  All works of fiction rely on convenience to one extent or another.  Find me a piece of fiction where there aren’t some plot conveniences to move things along.

In 2013, two developers who had worked on the BioShock series borrowed the environmental-storytelling technique and threw away both the shooting and the sci-fi fantasy. The result was Gone Home, a story game about a college-aged woman who returns home to a mysterious, empty mansion near Portland, Oregon. By reassembling the fragments found in this mansion, the player reconstructs the story of the main character’s sister and her journey to discover her sexual identity. The game was widely praised for breaking the mold of the first-person experience while also importing issues in identity politics into a medium known for its unwavering masculinity.

Oh boy.  The pseudo-intellectual is about to talk about Gone Home.  This basically confirms to me that he is full of shit.  Every wanna-be intellectual and their SJW sister have talked about how this game is representative of some great milestone.  In this case, he says that it showed that games are basically on the level of young-adult novels.  Groan.  And the fucker actually makes the argument that this game represents the high water mark in gaming story-telling.  Give me a fucking break!

There are 1000 games, probably more, with narratives 1000X richer than that walking simulator could have ever hoped for.  Hell, I don’t even have a problem with the walking simulator genre and I see it as a lesser option.  When I think about the emotional levels the Mass Effect series got (before the STUPID ending to 3), or the moral implications of The Last of Us, and I see this clown telling me that some hipster-approved work.  Hell, Limbo, a 2D side-scroller was able to make a game world with more emotional weight, without any exposition of any kind.  Just from the environment you play in, you can see the story of a great civilization’s rise to power and then fall.  An art game called Journey did much the same.  Did this ass-clown actually play games, or is he just quoting the line from his contemporaries?  He is probably a grad with a fancy degree, who spent all his academic life citing other people in papers.  Thinking for yourself is hard, after all.

The result is aesthetically coherent, fusing the artistic sensibilities of Edward Gory, Isabel Allende, and Wes Anderson. The writing is good, an uncommon accomplishment in a video game. On the whole, there is nothing to fault in What Remains of Edith Finch. It’s a lovely little title with ambitions scaled to match their execution. Few will leave it unsatisfied.

Good writing is uncommon in video games?  Oh fuck off, you hipster culture critic.  Look me in the eye and tell me that Beyond: Two Souls or Uncharted 4 have bad writing.  And you better be able to bolster it with some strong argument.  By the way, dude, I was unsatisfied at that game.  Know why – because the ending was crap.  The game was FINALLY getting to the really good stuff, then just stopped.  It just ends.  And don’t tell me “it’s open to interpretation!”  That is a line used by people who have no other argument.  I heard that crap about the Mass Effect 3 ending by pseudo-intellectuals just like this.

And that’s really it.  He doesn’t go into any other genre or aspects to games story-telling.  I guess, in his mind, the only kinds of games that can tell stories are first-person ones.  That is beyond asinine.  When I play art games like ABZU, or JRPGs like Persona 5, both with very good narratives and stories that suck me in, I am realizing why this guy is full of shit.  Another person who had to write some bullshit about games and then peace out without even looking at anything else but the one thing he wants to focus on.  No wonder this guy came from modern university.  His argumentation is garbage.

Funny, he looks at three games to try and make his point.  I can talk about dozens to make mine.  Yeah, this dude sucks.  I cannot believe a publication like The Atlantic takes this bullshit seriously.

Until next time, a quote,

“If you don’t feel it, you won’t remember it.” – Bob Dickman

Peace out,

Maverick