Friday, June 11, 2010

Kratos says, "IT HAS BEGUN!"

By now, everyone has seen this. In discussing this yesterday, and reading through comments, someone referenced this article. I have several issues with the article and disagree with a lot of the generalizations made.
I don't really have any issue with a dating site that caters to gamers. The equivalent of gamer phone sex either, honestly. People pay money to watch a morbidly obese woman walk to her car, it's certainly not any stranger than that. It's like saying that J-Date is a horrible thing because it caters to Jewish people looking to date other Jewish people. It's ridiculous when you think of it like that. People want to date people they share interests with, it's not a new concept.
Two words, Guitar Hero. Guitar Hero changed the way video games were perceived. It's now ok to play video games. The audience has expanded. It's a thing. Businesses are holding meetings in Second Life. Not, you know, normal businesses, but still. It's always been ok to play a sports game. Sorry, I just don't buy the gamer stigma any more. It's a huge industry now.
The second point made is that the industry thinks we are all seventeen year old douchebags. He cites, of all things, God of War 3 as the first game to single out. Is there some sex and nudity in it? Sure, but it's done with a point, and it's not at all, pardon the pun, the thrust of the series or the game. The storytelling in God of War 3 was amazing. It brought the series to a satisfying conclusion and kept Kratos a horrible and compelling character. Few games have awesome endings, this is one of them.

He expounds on this with Bayonetta. His argument is that the creators took a long time making her realistically gorgeous looking, and then made her seductive. Sorry bud, that's like asking why James Bond has Bond Girls. It's not a video game specific phenomenon. It's not some secret double standard.
Now, I do agree that video game storytelling has been traditionally poor. He makes a point regarding the Wizard of Oz and other traditional movies. However, for every movie that's a classic you have a Manos, Hand of Fate. There is a dearth of shitty movies. It's a fact. However, video games are often based on movie tropes we have seen, and this is why the tend to make poor movies. Castlevania is a Dracula story. Resident Evil is a Night of the Living Dead. Prince of Persia? Alladin. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a great game, is basically Scarface. Now, there are rare exceptions. I point you to Planescape: Torment. A game so great people still borrow it and play it ten years later. Portals will undoubtedly be another type of game like this. Half-Life and Half-Life 2 are both solid stories. God of War is really phenomenal in all honesty, very satisfying. Fallout is a great series too, awesome story telling. Eternal Dark, most Bioware games, the list goes on. It's not exactly common yet, but strides are being made. Alan Wake and Heavy Rain are two solid examples of this.

Shiny gadgets? Sorry, that's society. It's Apple's fucking business model. Moving the fuck on now...

Last, we come to his climactic point, sense of entitlement. This is really a OMG PEOPLE ARE STEALING GAMES IT KILLS THE INDUSTRY! point. I have some very simple counterpoints to his argument. When talking about the indie game bundle, he said the average was around $9 per donation. Guess what? I hold out for huge deals on Steam for the same price. I guess that makes me terrible. If you are taking a gamble on something, you don't want to pay full price. It might be awful. I wait on a lot of my console games to come down in price too. If I don't care about the newness, I can save a lot of money and have a good experience. Also, the people stealing the games? Yeah, they wouldn't be paying for the games anyway. People who steal shit are never the target demographic. That's like saying I am a dick for watching a movie on broadcast TV instead of at the movie theater. I didn't pay for it, yet I am still experiencing it. There is no way I would have paid for that movie if I didn't care enough to see it in theaters. The same applies here. Often, as people grow up and get jobs, they stop that and can afford to pay for the games.

People can bitch about DRM and which came first, but it's not a sense of entitlement. It's a justification for not wanting to pay. It's the gaming equivalent of "I'll wait until it's on TV", or on Netflix or Hulu as the case may be. These are not people that would be supporting your franchise or game anyway. It's all just a justification.
As to why console gaming is winning over PC gaming? Again, it's not hard. PCs are way more complicated. It's more do it yourself, most stuff you have to keep up with, and you have to upgrade it in order to keep up. Consoles require no upgrades for the life of the console. As long as the PS3 is the latest PS you know it's good. Eventually, you will buy a PS4. That's it. You insert the game, you play it, you're done. Xbox 360 is the same, but even easier. It's all DirectX and .NET framework. It's awesomely easy to keep programming for just that. Now, the majority of those often dual release on PC. I guess we shouldn't talk about that for his argument though.

Anyway, that's enough soap box from me. Tomorrow I'll talk about a DnD game with snakes.

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