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Let’s talk about: Player-Driven Context; Final Fantasy XV, That Dragon, Cancer and How a player connects to a game

Final Fantasy XV is an interesting game. The first 80% of the game feels endless. You get in the car, Noctis and friends, trying to help Noctis find himself, his purpose and his responsibilities. You take detours exploring caves, hunting for the next big fish, camp under the stars and wish you would find the next town soon so you can get a decent shower. During it all, there’s friendly ribbing, putting each other down as a display of how close you all are, egos blow up or real life seeps in and full out arguments escalate until the cold front  sweeps through the group hindering all conversation but you know that they mean well because the argument only grew from a place of worry, respect and friendship rather than ill will. But everyone works through the bad feelings and it only helps to strengthen their bond in the end. Then the last 20% of the game happens, real life becomes too important and that friendship isn’t enough to stop life from happening causing the inevitable distance between you and your friends to grow.

ffxv

Final Fantasy XV is interesting because it made me long for the times when I could just spend the days with my friends not worrying about the distant future and just live in the moment with them. Only having to worry about our next meal or plan our next outing together is a distant memory from the abruptness of real life. But then again, I’m only thinking like this because of where I am in life while I’m playing the game. I’m already past that part of my life where I’ve had the time to waste with my friends where we only spent time building bonds with one another before life got in the way. I’ve brought my own experiences from life and had it color my experience of FFXV, by relating to the motifs of friendship and reminiscing between the banter that only friends that know each other well and are completely comfortable with shitting on each other can do. If this was my first Final Fantasy playing FFXV before having these experiences of bonding with my friends I can see the next generation idolizing the idea of grabbing your closest friends, going on a trip and making an adventure out of it as a means of entertainment and building bonds.

This raises the question: When is the right time to play a game?

More after the break

Continue reading “Let’s talk about: Player-Driven Context; Final Fantasy XV, That Dragon, Cancer and How a player connects to a game”

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Bias In Gaming – How Brand Trust is Built – Blizzard and Steam, yes. PoGo, no.

PoGo PoGo PoGo

The summer of Pokemon Go is almost completed and it still seems like many are still at it. Walk by a public park and you’ll still find people at all hours of the day with their head down at their phone flicking towards the top of the screen.

abra

Everybody who tried playing during the first few days knows how poorly made the game is, how clunky the UI and controls are, how fickle the servers can be, but we all still kept at it. Whenever Niantic announced that they were releasing the game to the next wave of countries, the community prepared itself for the outages that would ensue as Niantic worked to scale their for traffic and replicated databases to support the millions of new users.

Game launches rarely ever go well unless you’re used to them not going well and plan for contingencies accordingly, like Blizzard and the release of Overwatch which was only troublesome to login and had spotty connectivity issues for the first day or so. Even on Blizzard’s worst launch days, e.g. most World of Warcraft expansion releases, Diablo 3 etc…, they might get a couple bruises in the gaming press but the gaming community as a whole still views Blizzard as one of the best in the business when it comes to polish in a game and longevity in a multiplayer experience.

But why could a game like Pokemon Go get away with feeling like an alpha/beta public test? Forgoing obvious arguments of nostalgia and novelty, why could Pokemon Go gain this much traction for what was ultimately a broken game? How can we trust Niantic and Pokemon Go as a brand and how does a company like Valve and Blizzard keep their high pedigree of brand trust? We’ll talk about that below the break.

Continue reading “Bias In Gaming – How Brand Trust is Built – Blizzard and Steam, yes. PoGo, no.”

Bias in Gaming: Predetermined Moral Choices, Empathy Gaps, and Victims

Playing a game like inFamous, Bioshock, Dragon Age, Star Wars: The Old Republic, or any game that has a morality system built into the game has been a bit strange for me. They build stories where you get to choose how your character’s life should play out, with dozens of opportunities to piss off the wrong people because they have punchable faces or act like skidmarks on your underwear where regardless of how clean you’ve been they still appear, moments that make you want to change sides because your emotions get in the way causing you to ally with a faction with a sympathetic background or because a character that you’ve grown fond of was killed by one’s hands.

But all of those opportunities are useless. Not because I’m so detached to the struggles that the characters in the story exhibit, nor because the storytelling did a crappy job of getting me attached to the characters within the story so actions against them wouldn’t cause some emotional reaction.

It’s because when the game started, I decided that this playthrough my player would be the Paragon, always choosing the morally “right” thing to do.

By picking a side and sticking to it, my actions are predetermined regardless of how bad the situation got to the characters in the game. No matter what kind of emotional response I would have because my favorite ship was getting tortured, chaos the villain was causing, betrayal that my best-friend would cause.

InFamous_Second_Son_Karmic_Moment_-_Hank

The emotional stress that any of this would cause me normally would be completely disintegrated because I knew that my actions were already predetermined. I would be the Predetermined Paragon for this run of the game.

But why does choosing this even matter? Does the canonical story assume that the player would be a Paragon of goodwill, ethics and morality pulling from an infinite pool of patience and persistence until they succeed? Perhaps.

A question as important: why does it cause such emotional stress in the first place?

More after the break.

Continue reading “Bias in Gaming: Predetermined Moral Choices, Empathy Gaps, and Victims”

Let’s Talk About: Superhot

Having the infinite power to survey and analyze while stuck with the limitations of the human body.

If you ever felt like The Flash needed a handicap, this would be the best one to give him. Given the power of high speed thought and processing, without the powers of high speed movement. How useful is being able to see the Matrix if you can’t manipulate yourself fast enough to dodge bullets.

Superhot is an experiment with these limitations.

The game opens up slowly, in the style of bringing intrigue and curiosity to the picture. A friend recommends you a game to try out, so you do. This is when you start learning your mechanics.

 

superhot - mechanics

When you move, time passes. When you don’t move, time stops.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About: Superhot”

Let’s Talk About: When does a game truly die? Or Games that need to inspire.

We’re well within the lifetime of the Eighth generation of consoles. That means seven generations of game consoles have come and gone. Libraries of games within each generation and only a handful of them are ever talked about, reminisced on, and dissected with scrutiny. Thousands of games long forgotten with just as much potential as the game next to it when they sat on the store shelves, but rarely purchased and less likely to be remembered once the next gaming generation has spawned a fresh slate of shelf-space to remember.

But do these games ever really die?

The mortality of a game and its ideas is one thing, but its legacy is something to not be taken likely. Passing on the seeds of what a game has explored to future generations.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About: When does a game truly die? Or Games that need to inspire.”

Impressions: Ultimate Chicken Horse – PAX Prime 2015

Ultimate Chicken Horse

Original Kickstarter

There’s a lot of ways to ruin friendships when playing a game. Games like Mario Party and Nintendoland have you building temporary alliances and never-forgotten rivalries from past betrayals. Others like Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros relying solely on yourself for victory with the randomness of items to keep things interesting and forcing you to be globally aware but you still feel the anguist when victory is snatched from your grasps by a well-timed red-shell or a lucky pokeball grab.

It’s weird to find a party game that doesn’t have you building a hatred for the people that you’re with over time, but Ultimate Chicken Horse was definitely on its way there.

ultimate-chicken-horse

Continue reading “Impressions: Ultimate Chicken Horse – PAX Prime 2015”

Game Experiences: PAX Prime 2015 Day 1: Freshman’s on FFXIV

It’s a bit strange to have new players come into a game and expect them to be good, don’t you think? 

Let’s step back a bit. Remember when in World of Warcraft, that you can get a free level-90 character or some odd nonsense that there was an uproar? It wasn’t just nerds being elitist assholes, because yes they are but yes they are also right to be upset.

You start a game with a new class and you start with the building blocks for that new class. For tanks, it’s about building agro to make sure that enemies don’t beat on the other people in your party, then work your way up to using damage mitigation moves and finally enemy movement. Damage Dealers deal with learning a rotation and finding out the best order of what skill produce the highest damage output, starting with only a few moves in your skillset and slowly finding a place for each new move that you learn… Healers just learn to heal and cleanse at the right times while dealing with “don’t stand in the bad stuff” mechanics.

But the reason why people were upset about the free level-90 was because you now have new players come in and have all of these moves and no training in how to use them. There are no fundamental building blocks to build on-top of, just a clutter of skills and an intense memorization that needs to happen in just remembering what skills are useful for what situation. You typical “oh-shit I’m about to die” buttons aren’t second-nature and you’re hunting and pecking to find the next move that should be useful instead of being used to a particular combination that gets the job done effectively.

This matters because the Final Fantasy XIV Convention Events have and always will have this problem. PAX Prime 2015 was no different, having a group of 8 random people tackling Ravana Hardmode. Easy enough for people who are into the game, but not everyone plays the game outside of the convention, and not everyone knows the mechanics to survive.

PAX Prime 2015 FFXIV Wideshot

Continue reading “Game Experiences: PAX Prime 2015 Day 1: Freshman’s on FFXIV”

YouTube Words: Game Grumps – Jon Tron vs Danny Sexbang Word Profiles (Bonus Post)

Remember what I said about someone’s Word Profile? About how it’s like a fingerprint of you past because we learn to gravitate our lexicon to certain words over others, event more so depending on the context of your situation?

In my last iteration of the Word Profile comparisons, we looked Markiplier’s Channel vs the Game Grump channel in hopes of both finding how their Word Profile’s differ, but also to gain some insight in how to find the differences in commentary style during a Let’s Play.

We found possibilities like categorizing Solo vs Co-op let’s plays based on someone’s Word Profile alone, possible improve training from “yes-and”-ing everything your friends are saying, and even just finding out the baseline aggressive language that the two channels have.

For this post at the least, I wanted to look at the inner history of the Game Grumps, since Arin and Dan weren’t always the hosts. It was Jon Tron that took up the co-host seat with Arin and I thought it would be interesting to see what the differences between the two would be, if there were any to be found.

Figure 1 - Game Grumps - JT vs DS - All
Figure 1 – Game Grumps – JT vs DS – All

Continue reading “YouTube Words: Game Grumps – Jon Tron vs Danny Sexbang Word Profiles (Bonus Post)”

YouTube Words: GameGrumps Language Usage Roundup

10,000 foot view: Game Grumps And Language Use

Parachute height: Game Grumps and Language Use across Games

Picking a Target: Game Grumps and Language use on Super Mario Games

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