#egmr » Caveshen http://egmr.net Let's Talk Games — Videogame News, Reviews & Opinions Mon, 15 Jun 2015 06:00:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Life, The Universe And Gaming: The Effect Of Buzzwords — A Case Study Of The Witcher 3 http://egmr.net/2015/06/life-the-universe-and-gaming-the-effect-of-buzzwords-a-case-study-of-the-witcher-3/ http://egmr.net/2015/06/life-the-universe-and-gaming-the-effect-of-buzzwords-a-case-study-of-the-witcher-3/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 09:00:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171521 Have you ever struck up a conversation with someone and had it move towards gaming? The two of you becoming more and more united in your shared passion. Joyful. Exuberant. […]

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Have you ever struck up a conversation with someone and had it move towards gaming? The two of you becoming more and more united in your shared passion. Joyful. Exuberant. “Finally, someone in this crazy world who gets it. Finally someone understands how it feels to be a gamer, and to play the games I love. Wait, what’s that? They preordered a game?! Well I guess we can just never be friends now, goodbye.”

Readers. Friends. Gamers: Why do we do this to ourselves?

A few years ago I realised that the problems plaguing gaming are cyclical. They come, they go, they return later. Honestly, I just got tired of talking about the same things over and over, and I felt the critical side of gaming was already rather oversaturated on those topics. So I made the active decision to move away from all of that; far more interesting for me was the psychological effect of gaming. Why do we flock to it? Why do we value this interactive escapism so much? How much of us rely on it to the extent that if it went away we would cease to be ourselves? And how many people presume to know gaming but ultimately fail to realise its truest potential as a medium of entertainment that stands unrivalled?

Put simply: What makes gamers tick?

One of the things I’ve been noticing recently, in this regard, is that there are certain words in gaming that seem to tick gamers off. Mentioned in the vicinity of a gamer, it turns the conversation downright nasty. And no, I’m not talking about a certain group of gamers on the internet who are either misunderstood or monsters, depending on whom you ask. Rather, I’m referring to buzzwords. Gaming buzzwords. Things that you hear floating around in the gaming industry that, let’s be honest here, have been bastardised to the point that they cause gamers to cringe upon their utterance. Kinda like the “C” word or the “N” word, but more gaming-focussed.

The thing that fascinates me about them is just how nasty the reaction of gamers is, when these words are mentioned. Take for example “DRM” which stands for Devils Rejoice Majestically Digital Rights Management, and is easily one of the worst acronyms on the internet. Why? Because DRM is everything wrong with the world. DRM is the thing your parents warn you to watch out for. DRM is what inspired Hitler. DRM is just bad. Except for all those uses when DRM is perfectly fine — Steam, DVD players, etc. One of my favourite articles on the internet states the following of DRM:

The problem – or at least a big part of it – is DRM, and I don’t mean any particular DRM policies, I mean the actual letters “D”, “R”, and “M” assembled in sequence in the same place at the same time. It’s more or less the orthographic equivalent of a huge neon swastika superimposed on an inverted crucifix beamed out onto a gathering storm over a grim, sooty industrial citystate where bar-coded citizens in orange jumpsuits hunch between mounted camera arrays and gunship spotlights on rainy streets patrolled by anonymous, visored police as loudspeakers issue proclamatory reminders of the punishments for subversion.

The truth of the matter is that DRM breeds sour sentiments from gamers because it is seen as a hostile and controlling creation. When used deftly and without inconveniencing gamers (see: Steam), it goes right by without notice. But dare you outright state the term DRM… you’re in for some trouble. And the same would apply to many other phrases. But the thing is, just like with DRM, there are some uses of them that are just fine and dandy. Exceptions to the rule, so to speak. And then The Witcher 3 released…

Witcher+3+is+comming+see+description+https+wwwyoutubecom+watch+v+htvdaasjogu_c03320_5172703

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been, in every possible way, a game changer. It has caused so many people to experience personal conflicts where they have eventually realised they were perhaps being a little too hard on games, and maybe they are better off being good humans. Or, you know, it’s a game that has been blamed for a long list of things that are unfair and undeserved but hey. That’s popularity for you. Happens to the best of ’em.

But the thing about The Witcher 3 that really gets me, personally, is how effortlessly it contains a whole bunch of those nasty buzzwords and nobody actually cares at all (save for one, which we’ll get to).

Usually in a game when you hear about DLC (downloadable content) or season passes, you throw your hands up in anguish. There it is! Another game that is trying to take all of our money before it’s even been completed! What horrible cash-grabbing developers these are! And yet, The Witcher 3 offers a host of entirely free DLC — a grand total of sixteen, to be exact — as well as two chunkier expansions which form the game’s version of a season pass. Not too shabby, eh?

People typically caution against preorders and in fact, you might notice that Ubisoft is pushing a different word entirely, for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate preorders. But the thing is, The Witcher 3’s collectors edition is just freaking incredible, and you can bet your ass those stocks are limited. And hey, so there’s a day one patch that you’ll need to worry about when you get the game; who cares? It’s an open world RPG, there are bound to be some issues that need to be fixed first. Think of it like paying for an early access version of the game, and then in a few weeks it’ll be working even better than when it’s originally out.

And yeah, you might see their optimisation of the game’s visuals and think it’s a downgrade but this is CD Projekt RED. They’re not going to just leave the game looking like it is. Remember that entirely free 11GB Enhanced Edition they released for The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings? What’s to stop them from doing the same this time around? Once again, the game only gets better the longer you have it. And it still looks absolutely incredible, for what it is right now.

Finally, and this is a personal point of contention, The Witcher 3 being the third game in the series doesn’t make that much of a difference. For one, most people skipped the first game entirely. But also, this game manages to build on its predecessors and create something that stands as much on its own as it does, part of a long-running series. It’s magnificently well-built in both size, scale, and story.

Now I should probably say that this is not meant to be a sales pitch for The Witcher 3 and this certainly might read as a bit of an excuse-spree. But I like to think of it as a problem of psychological behaviour. People enjoy controversy, and they respond better to criticism. You can be encouraging to someone nine days out of ten, but if you criticise them on the tenth day, that is what will stick with them (I speak from experience on this one). So when people use these nasty words I’ve highlighted for you, they tend to use them in harsh tones and with a fair amount of contempt.

But as I’ve demonstrated today, there are also practically sound ways of using them as well. And they are not always bad, as a result. Sure, we don’t want people preordering games blindly. But that doesn’t mean you should never preorder a game. If you’re a fan of a series, and you want that really cool collectors edition, what are you waiting for? If a game looks a bit downgraded from its original trailer but it’s still the best-looking game you’ve ever seen, what is actually the problem here? And finally, if a game has a whole bunch of DLC planned and you don’t need to pay for it, why are you complaining about it?

By all means, hold developers accountable for their actions and don’t make exceptions based on personal bias. But don’t let the majority speak for everyone (not a political statement, but that too) — there are some folks who mean really well but ultimately fail to please.

Sometimes it’s important that we take the good with the bad. I get accused a lot of being negative all the time, when in reality I’m a very positive person who has occasions of cynicism. Who doesn’t? But let’s not let our bouts of cynicism cloud our judgements from the times when there are really good things. Specifically, let’s all play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and have a good old time. Okay so maybe this is a bit of a sales pitch. But really, this game sells itself. Why aren’t you playing it yet?

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No Podcast Today, So Here’s An Infographic For Geek Pride Day http://egmr.net/2015/05/no-podcast-today-so-heres-an-infographic-for-geek-pride-day/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/no-podcast-today-so-heres-an-infographic-for-geek-pride-day/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 09:00:15 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171443 Bet you didn’t even know such a day existed? Then again, isn’t that every day? Excessive use of caption subtitles here. In case you didn’t know, and how could you, […]

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Bet you didn’t even know such a day existed?

Then again, isn’t that every day?

Excessive use of caption subtitles here.

In case you didn’t know, and how could you, this past week saw Geek Pride Day pass us by. Now for a long time we’ve all argued over what exactly “geek” means, with some saying that it could mean a distinct interest in comic books, or gaming, or movies, and some asking why that couldn’t extend to anything else; music and cars for example. Then there are the obligatory “geek is the new sexy” folk, who couldn’t tell you what LLAP meant if you held a phaser to their head, set to disintegrate.

Now since we were unable to record a podcast this week — exams, load shedding, reviews, the usual stories — we don’t want to just leave you all completely in the dark once again. Instead we thought we’d share a really cool infographic that was shared this week, that deals with exactly the definition we’re looking for; happy belated Geek Pride Day everyone.

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Click to enlarge

Let us know what you think in the comments below. We’ll be back to regular podcasting next week!

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What Would You Like Us To Discuss On This Week’s EGMR Offensive? http://egmr.net/2015/05/what-would-you-like-us-to-discuss-on-this-weeks-egmr-offensive-4/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/what-would-you-like-us-to-discuss-on-this-weeks-egmr-offensive-4/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 09:00:05 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171340 We haven’t so much downgraded as we’ve optimised our experience, but don’t you worry; an enhanced edition will be out eventually. We never said we were heroes. Previously on the […]

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We haven’t so much downgraded as we’ve optimised our experience, but don’t you worry; an enhanced edition will be out eventually. We never said we were heroes.

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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The EGMR Offensive #11: Fabulous Witcher Fun http://egmr.net/2015/05/the-egmr-offensive-11-fabulous-witcher-fun/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/the-egmr-offensive-11-fabulous-witcher-fun/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 09:00:59 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171159 Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive. This week’s episode is filled with a diverse mix of people except that they’re all male. It’s […]

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Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive.

This week’s episode is filled with a diverse mix of people except that they’re all male. It’s not so much that we’re sexist but rather that we just prefer to bring out the female part of ourselves in each episode. There’s also some talk about games. Just a little…

Here are the topics discussed during this week’s episode:

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Female superheroes
  • NAG closes its doors
  • Game of Thrones outrage
  • AMD problems with Hairworks
  • Questions

Keen on getting offended? Here’s how:

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | Android | RSS

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And Just Like That — CD Projekt Responds To The Witcher 3 Graphics Complaints http://egmr.net/2015/05/and-just-like-that-cd-projekt-responds-to-the-witcher-3-graphics-complaints/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/and-just-like-that-cd-projekt-responds-to-the-witcher-3-graphics-complaints/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 08:00:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171251 Because in 2015 visuals are still a big freaking deal, man. Yesterday we asked the question of whether the media should be covering The Witcher 3’s apparent graphical downgrade a […]

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Because in 2015 visuals are still a big freaking deal, man.

Yesterday we asked the question of whether the media should be covering The Witcher 3’s apparent graphical downgrade a bit more than they were. As it turns out, that was a premature sentiment because the media is now covering The Witcher 3’s apparent graphical downgrade.

Following Digital Foundry’s analysis of the game on consoles, as well as many fan complaints on PC, CD Projekt RED have finally come out and addressed the issues… and honestly we feel a little bad for even asking the question.

“If you’re looking at the development process, we do a certain build for a tradeshow and you pack it, it works, it looks amazing,” explains co-founder Marcin Iwinski, “And you are extremely far away from completing the game. Then you put in the open world, regardless of the platform, and it’s like, ‘Oh shit, it really doesn’t work.’ We’ve already showed it, now we have to make it work. And then we try to make it work on a huge scale. This is the nature of games development.”

And that’s fine, because nobody here at EGMR or on the internet in general would begrudge that point. Game development is a long and arduous process, most gameplay trailers and pre-release footage is crafted specifically for the purposes of demonstration and not actually pulled from the version you’ll play in your living room later on, and as we all know, they need to blow away as many people as possible. Even if the visuals were not the core marketing focus of The Witcher 3.

But that doesn’t really answer the question of why CD Projekt RED said previously that the game would not be downgraded, and would actually look better, an obviously very conflicting statement to what has actually occurred.

So like Watch_Dogs, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Killzone 2 and other games before them, we are forced to call out bad practice, even from a developer we otherwise adore. And now that the game has released, it’s a little disheartening to see the tune change to admitting that things ended up a little shaky, with no way to avoid it. Going on to admit that the PC version of the game was in fact held back by the console editions.

“We didn’t see it as a problem,” Iwinski continued. “In a way, because of us not seeing it as a problem, and working hard on the game until the very end, that’s where we are today and that’s why we have to explain. I hope it shows our intentions, because we are not hiding anything.”

On the one hand, they could have come clean about this earlier. On the other hand, they seem genuinely sincere about not seeing it as an issue prior to this point in time. And for what it’s worth, I don’t either. As I said in my previous write-up on this, it’s not the core selling point of the series. All the same…

“Maybe we shouldn’t have shown that [trailer], I don’t know, but we didn’t know that it wasn’t going to work, so it’s not a lie or a bad will – that’s why we didn’t comment actively. We don’t agree there is a downgrade but it’s our opinion, and gamers’ feelings can be different. If they made their purchasing decision based on the 2013 materials, I’m deeply sorry for that, and we are discussing how we can make it up to them because that’s not fair.”

What’s perhaps important to note is that without the console editions, The Witcher 3 could not exist and hope to sell as well. That should be noted before we start getting angry at the “console peasants” here, but CD Projekt RED if you’re reading this: We love your games, and we want you to do well, this is all very heartbreaking for us. In future, just please have a watermark in the trailer that states, “Not representative of the final product”. Your marketing department might not like it. Your fans will respect you for it. Cool?

We’re fully expecting graphical updates in future patches to the game, or even a free Enhanced Edition a little later but for the moment, Good Guy CD Projekt RED has assured the gaming world that they’re working on it.

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Is The Witcher 3’s Graphical Downgrade Something Media Should Be Discussing? http://egmr.net/2015/05/is-the-witcher-3s-graphical-downgrade-something-media-should-be-discussing/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/is-the-witcher-3s-graphical-downgrade-something-media-should-be-discussing/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 09:00:46 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171170 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt releases today and I’m honestly quite excited for everyone who gets to play it. I’ll be picking it up next month but for the moment […]

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt releases today and I’m honestly quite excited for everyone who gets to play it. I’ll be picking it up next month but for the moment judging from reviews it’s looking like a solid release with some really high scores and a lot of positive chatter around it.

But there is one thing that many are glossing over, or perhaps choosing to ignore. The game does not look like its reveal trailers.

Now let’s just get one thing clear out of the way: I am not being critical of The Witcher 3 here. I do not think that The Witcher 3 is comparable to Watch_Dogs in terms of lying to its audience, and I believe the reason people aren’t as upset about the so-called “downgrade” is because we have learned to manage our expectations better. Further, I think the only people bringing this up are those doing so based purely on principle rather than on any actual attempt at finding answers here.

Nonetheless, resident tech guru Marco brought it up on social networks this morning and we got to discussing it. He believes that it’s an internet double standard that folks were highly critical of Ubisoft following Watch_Dogs releasing last year, but nobody is getting on CD Projekt RED’s case about The Witcher 3. You can read that chain of tweets which also includes boardgame guru Paul, here:

As far as my sentiments go, they echo that of former writer for our site and Lazygamer turncoat Alessandro, who wrote a column on the topic before, asking whether we should be allowed to get angry over visual downgrades. The short answer, is no. We can still opt out of the game, and as long as we are not being outright lied to (read: blatantly) then we only have ourselves to blame if we get hyped up.

I would also add that I think there’s more to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt than the visuals; I mean, it’s still by far and away one of the most beautiful games ever made, but there’s also a massive open world and a deep and engaging story to sink your teeth into.

Unlike Watch_Dogs which completely transformed between reveal and release, The Witcher 3 does not rely on its graphics to push sales. And this for me, is the core difference. And why worrying about graphics — in this case — is nitpicking.

What about you? Do you think think that the graphical downgrade should be a topic of discussion? Do you think that, on principle, we should be treating all games equally and affording CD Projekt RED and The Witcher 3, the same scepticism and accountability that we afforded Ubisoft Montreal and Watch_Dogs? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.

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NAG Magazine Closes Its Doors After July Issue http://egmr.net/2015/05/nag-magazine-closes-its-doors-after-july-issue/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/nag-magazine-closes-its-doors-after-july-issue/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 12:00:29 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171141 Today is a sad day for South African gaming. One day long ago, when accompanying my parents to buy the daily bread and milk at a nearby corner store, I […]

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Today is a sad day for South African gaming.

One day long ago, when accompanying my parents to buy the daily bread and milk at a nearby corner store, I saw a shiny magazine that had gaming content on the cover; I believe it was an image of Tekken 4. I begged and pleaded with my parents to buy it for me and a few days later I returned to that store to buy my first ever gaming magazine; it was the March 2003 issue of New Age Gaming.

Fast-forward to 2015 and although I stopped buying NAG a few years ago, I have accrued a near-mint-condition “NAG shrine” consisting NAG magazines from that momentous March 2003 issue all the way to July 2011, without a single missed issue in between. I was relentless in my collection and consumption of NAG magazines. I went to crazy lengths to get my hands on a new copy when it was out.

Over time, while the loyalty remained, the need to have the latest NAG faded. Print magazine was just too slow, and as much as I always wanted to consume the magazine’s opinion columns, the asking price was getting a little too much for me, and in July 2011 I made the conscious but very painful decision to stop collecting the magazine.

But NAG did so much for me. It introduced me to so many of my writing heroes, and showed me whole new worlds of gaming. Because of NAG, I was introduced to the Half-Life series, and to Freelancer, and to Dungeon Siege, and to so many other games. It feels like a part of my childhood now, and rightly so because I grew up with my nose stuck in the latest issue.

But now the news has come through that NAG Magazine is closing its doors and I felt a need to cover it here, if for nothing else then for sentiment’s sake. Here’s what former editor-in-chief and owner of Tidemedia Publications Michael James had to say:

The July 2015 issue of NAG magazine will be our last issue.

The print industry is diminishing quickly and because NAG speaks to a very connected, early adopting reader it has seen a faster than predicted drop-off in advertising and readers. We’re kind of in the middle of a storm of fewer people buying magazines, fewer companies spending money on print advertising, and an ever-volatile gaming industry.

To those readers who are upset about this, I’m sorry. There’s just no way that we can keep this amazing publication alive anymore. I don’t want NAG magazine to become an anchor that drags the rest of the company down, so it’s time to accept the inevitable.

I must take this opportunity to thank three sets of people. First up, the readers. Without your fiercely loyal support over the years we’d be nothing; there’d be no rAge and the gaming industry as a whole would be far weaker than it is (bit of trumpet blowing here). Secondly are the people in the local industry that have supported us over the years. Lastly, thank you to the staff that worked on the magazine over the years, without your energy NAG magazine would never have made it across the deadline stretch each month. We’ve had a lot of fun and probably played too many games when we should really have been working. This is a one of a kind environment.

Really fucking sad. First PC Format, and now NAG Magazine. We’re out of proper recognised gaming magazines in SA, people. What that says about SA as a gaming community, you can decide.

In any case, the NAG website will still exist and be around, and while technically it might be our rival website, I am not above asking anyone who will miss NAG to head onto their website and check it out every now and again. It’s got some really great people behind it, and hopefully more resources will be dedicated to it once the magazine is done and dusted.

On that note, the final edition, which will no doubt sell out everywhere, releases on July 9th. Join me in the comments on wishing the folks at NAG Magazine well in all their endeavours in the future. Godspeed, guys.

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What Would You Like Us To Discuss On This Week’s EGMR Offensive? http://egmr.net/2015/05/what-would-you-like-us-to-discuss-on-this-weeks-egmr-offensive-3/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/what-would-you-like-us-to-discuss-on-this-weeks-egmr-offensive-3/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 09:00:10 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171111 Do you know what the biggest outrage is? That you don’t have questions for us. Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and […]

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Do you know what the biggest outrage is? That you don’t have questions for us.

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: Games As Products — AC: Syndicate, And The Ubisoft Quandary http://egmr.net/2015/05/life-the-universe-and-gaming-games-as-products-ac-syndicate-and-the-ubisoft-quandary/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/life-the-universe-and-gaming-games-as-products-ac-syndicate-and-the-ubisoft-quandary/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 09:00:54 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171076 Last week Ubisoft revealed Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate to the world. It was a two-parter, with an initial cinematic trailer and then a gameplay trailer following immediately afterwards. Great! We always […]

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Last week Ubisoft revealed Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate to the world. It was a two-parter, with an initial cinematic trailer and then a gameplay trailer following immediately afterwards.

Great! We always criticise developers for revealing games without any gameplay footage, so well done to Ubisoft for showing us some gameplay. Right? Sure. But you see… when you eventually get around to watching the gameplay trailer, you start to realise why other developers don’t reveal games with any gameplay footage.

When I initially watched the cinematic trailer, I thought to myself, “Yeah okay, they’re not doing a traditional Assassin’s Creed game but that’s fine because honestly if a self-aware action third person adventure title is what they want to do, then awesome.” And I maintained that opinion for a few days thereafter. It looked as if it could be proper fun if we just get over the fact that it’s not Assassin’s Creed 2 again.

Then I watched the gameplay trailer, and I couldn’t even finish it the first time. It took less than two minutes for me to rage-quit the trailer, go away for a while, actually exclaim in frustrated anguish, and then return later to finish watching the trailer. Why? Because honestly, after watching it the first time, I felt as if I was being marketed to. Treated entirely like a potential customer rather than a gaming enthusiast or fan of the series. And I absolutely hated being made to feel that way. Observe:

Fast-forward to around 1:34 in that trailer, and listen to what the dude says. “New to our game are iconic modes of transportation.” Might seem like an innocuous statement in all honestly, but I lost it at that point. “WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN?!” I exclaimed. It is a running joke with Ubisoft games that they overuse the word iconic, whether it’s Aiden’s hat in Watch_Dogs or the hoods in Assassin’s Creed. There is no definition of the word for which this applies. So my natural assumption was that Ubisoft are trying to market something to me.

It was their product. I was their consumer. And they were trying to seal the deal.

This was doubly emphasised by the word “Reserve” which had replaced the now-ugly “Pre-order” in the eyes of gamers.

We won’t talk about the actual gameplay, but needless to say, I agree with Azhar‘s sentiments regarding soulless Assassin’s Creed entries. The game sure as hell looks stylish and great, and will no doubt boast ridiculously high production values, but it is ultimately a product that is being packaged as such, marketed as such, and will no doubt be sold as such. It inspired nothing in me, and actually made me feel a little queasy while watching it, and I started to regret ever buying into this series. Extreme, I know, but it was how I felt as a fan.

Where was the passion that made me want to tattoo a part of this gaming series onto the back of my neck?
And then the realisation dawned upon me…
valiant-hearts-the-great-war-review_fwdx

It’s staggering to think that Child of Light and Valiant Hearts came from the same publisher that is force-feeding us release after release of the likes of Rainbow Six, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, Ghost Recon and now Watch_Dogs and The Crew. But then I got to thinking about it, and I compared and contrasted it with BuzzFeed (of all things). Political stance aside, BuzzFeed has some interesting articles every now and then, mixed between the things you most likely already know (and either love or hate) BuzzFeed for; you’ll never believe what I’m talking about. The answer will surprise you. Readers hate what I know! Etc.

Perhaps then, Ubisoft operates on a similar principle? They put out their cash-grabbing, soulless products to the world and make all of their money from them. The direct result of this is that smaller but arguably riskier titles are also allowed to be created, the likes of Child of Light and Valiant Hearts. Hell, even Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles isn’t that bad, for a side-scrolling platformer.

When I think about it this way, it becomes worlds easier to live with. Doesn’t it? We know that Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate will doubtlessly release with a myriad of issues, have day-one DLC, microtransactions and a season pass, as well as all sorts of other content including companion apps and unlockables and so on; all of this is a given. We don’t blame the developers, because they typically don’t want to put all of it into the game just as much as we don’t want to see it there. But they must live with the hand they’re dealt, and so must we.

In exchange, we get the likes of Valiant Hearts, Child of Light, and so on. Games that, for lack of a better way of phrasing it, make up for the other soulless entries under Ubisoft’s yearly release schedule. Games that we don’t even need to be franchises, despite Ubisoft’s insistence that they won’t pick up anything that can’t be a franchise.
That reminds me…
185861rcrm7c1jpg

There is another game that made me fall in love with Ubisoft, many years ago. More so than Assassin’s Creed, more so than Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, or any of their other games. And it was Beyond Good & Evil.

When Ubisoft said that they were only interested in games that could be franchises, yes I lamented the many The Last of Us type games that they could have made (but arguably, Child of Light and Valiant Hearts?) but my actual immediate thought was, “So why have we had to wait this long to see Beyond Good & Evil 2?” I could arguably answer why it is so by considering the niche nature of the game, the cult fan-base that did not represent a larger portion of the market, the female protagonist and her porky sidekick, or the shoddy port of the original game. The HD release that came out a while back renewed my hope that Ubisoft were looking into the possibility of a sequel. Since then, we’ve had rumour after rumour after rumour.

But now, I can honestly admit this to myself: I don’t want a Beyond Good & Evil sequel.

Naturally, given that Murphy’s Law is that most powerful of laws in the observable universe, now that I don’t want it, at E3 2015 we will likely see it revealed. But I just don’t want to see the franchising and soulless product-marketing of one of my all-time favourite games (alongside another Ubisoft release entitled Dark Messiah: Might & Magic, Microsoft’s Freelancer and Vivendi’s Half-Life 2).

I could be woefully incorrect about this, and Beyond Good & Evil 2 could also benefit from the serialisation of Assassin’s Creed into a product to be sold to customers, and if that is so I’ll be the first person to declare renewed love for Ubisoft. But right now, all I can think of when it comes to Ubisoft is a publisher that sees moneybags whenever it looks at its consumers; nothing more. Unfair treatment, perhaps. But I’m more than happy to be proven wrong here.
So what did you think of that Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate gameplay trailer? Is it right up your alley? Is it iconic enough? Will you be looking forward to more? I’d love to discuss it with you guys in the comments below.

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The Postal Developers Have A Message For The Internet About Censorship http://egmr.net/2015/05/the-postal-developers-have-a-message-for-the-internet-about-censorship/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/the-postal-developers-have-a-message-for-the-internet-about-censorship/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 15:00:18 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171061 “We’d like to make this official statement as a team to the perpetually offended who wish to censor art.” We’d like to dedicate this one to the folks who demanded […]

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“We’d like to make this official statement as a team to the perpetually offended who wish to censor art.”

We’d like to dedicate this one to the folks who demanded BioWare change the Mass Effect endings, the folks who criticised a host of female-empowering games for being sexist, and the folks who think The Witcher 3, a game steeped in Polish origin, lore and concept, is racist for not including people of colour. And everyone in between.

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Phil Spencer Is Ready To Rock At E3 For Xbox http://egmr.net/2015/05/phil-spencer-is-ready-to-rock-at-e3-for-xbox/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/phil-spencer-is-ready-to-rock-at-e3-for-xbox/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 13:00:42 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171057 As far as E3 press conferences go, Microsoft is typically the one to kick things off for Xbox, followed by Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and finally Sony, with the likes of […]

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As far as E3 press conferences go, Microsoft is typically the one to kick things off for Xbox, followed by Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and finally Sony, with the likes of Konami and Nintendo having since dropped out. This year there is an added PC-related press conference but otherwise the order will remain.

Now two years ago, Microsoft went first and revealed some interesting Xbox One games to the world. But then Sony went on and, well, we all know how that went down.

But Xbox’s Phil Spencer isn’t intimidated by that. In fact, he’s not worried at all.

Forever the nice guy, Phil Spencer has really been a class act in dealing with rival PlayStation. Time and time again, where PlayStation has opted to take shots and make quips at Xbox’s expense, Phil Spencer has taken every opportunity to congratulate and show respect to the PlayStation 4. In keeping with that tradition then, he also downplayed the “competitive” factor between the two companies at E3.

While we still don’t quite know what is planned for the Xbox press conference, there is certainly a lot of consumer faith in Phil Spencer, and we’re hoping he’ll come through and show the world what the Xbox One is going to do for the next year or so. As to whether PlayStation will get another chance to fire off some shots this year, we’ll have to wait for June to find out. Let us know in the comments, what you think will go down. Give us your best predictions.

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Expect No Man’s Sky To Be “Treated Like A First-Party Release” http://egmr.net/2015/05/expect-no-mans-sky-to-be-treated-like-a-first-party-release/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/expect-no-mans-sky-to-be-treated-like-a-first-party-release/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 09:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171052 Do you know what compels me to get a PlayStation 4 the most? Not PlayStation Plus, I get that in Games with Gold; not 1080p 60fps, I get that on […]

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Do you know what compels me to get a PlayStation 4 the most? Not PlayStation Plus, I get that in Games with Gold; not 1080p 60fps, I get that on PC; but rather, No Man’s Sky.

Yeah, sure, there are other games coming out that also try space-faring; the likes of Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen immediately come to mind. But nothing like No Man’s Sky. Nothing that was done by so small a time, with so large an ambition.

Sometimes you really wish indie developers (the ones that deserve it) get some extra help along the way, to realise the full extent of their ideas. The likes of Dust: An Elysian Tail had a decent amount of help along the way, from Microsoft’s Xbox. Thankfully, Sony’s PlayStation will be doing the same now for No Man’s Sky.

According to PlayStation UK’s Fergal Gara, No Man’s Sky will be treated “as if it is one of our internal studios” going on to state that they “are going to put the full weight of PlayStation behind it,” adding, “If it all comes together as well as expected, it will be treated like a first-party release; it is not a self-published small indie title on the platform.”

And we think that’s really important, and certainly a lesson Microsoft could learn with the Xbox One. Because right now, there are quite a few indie titles over on PS4 that are doing spectacularly, and even more have the potential to do just as well, and receive equal backing from PlayStation. They could transcend the digital-only limitations and become full-on physical products in their own right.

Imagine that kind of world. You walk into BT Games and a bunch of indie games are staring back at you. How awesome, right?

The PS4-exclusive No Man’s Sky is due out later this year. Will you be picking it up?

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The EGMR Offensive #10: Steampunk Syndication http://egmr.net/2015/05/the-egmr-offensive-10-steampunk-syndication/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/the-egmr-offensive-10-steampunk-syndication/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 09:00:44 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=171003 Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive. Oi Guv’nor! What’s this ‘ere ‘en? A new bloody podcast? A new bleedin’ episode? Blimey! These wankers […]

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Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive.

Oi Guv’nor! What’s this ‘ere ‘en? A new bloody podcast? A new bleedin’ episode? Blimey! These wankers are talkin’ all sorts of bollocks about games and social ‘etworks and other such things, the pisspots. Check it out, o’roit?

Here are the topics discussed during this week’s episode:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Twitter
  • AMD vs Nvidia
  • Questions

Keen on getting offended? Here’s how:

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | Android | RSS

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Review: Avengers: Age Of Ultron Merges Comic Book And Movie Masterfully http://egmr.net/2015/05/review-avengers-age-of-ultron-merges-comic-book-and-movie-masterfully/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/review-avengers-age-of-ultron-merges-comic-book-and-movie-masterfully/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 08:00:20 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=170688 Movies are a lot like medicine, in that there is an accepted practice that has been used for a very long time and it takes someone very gifted to truly […]

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Movies are a lot like medicine, in that there is an accepted practice that has been used for a very long time and it takes someone very gifted to truly work miracles with what they get. Like medicine, movies are healthy for us in good moderation. Like medicine, we feel better after watching a movie and will recommend it to others looking for a pick-me-up. Like medicine, movies have long stagnated in terms of structure and are in need of a modern shake-up.

This is where Marvel comes in, with Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. To call it a movie would be to tell a third of the story. To call it a comic book movie would be two thirds there. But ultimately what Avengers: Age of Ultron is, is something that transcends both of those and manages to become something else entirely. Something that, admittedly, requires lots of investment on your part in order to truly appreciate.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is the next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which now counts the following under its ever-growing pool of established stories: The Incredible Hulk; Iron Mans 1, 2 and 3; Captain Americas 1 and 2; Thors 1 and 2; Guardians of the Galaxy; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Daredevil and finally, Agent Carter. Also in the pipeline are Ant Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, The Inhumans, and more movie sequels to the above-mentioned, including, importantly, Thor 3, Captain America 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The reason I need to recount all of these is because it’s important to establish just how large this growing universe has become. We’ll get back to this later.

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers are called in once more to put an end once and for all to Hydra’s plans, and recover Loki’s lost sceptre from the first Avengers movie. Having achieved that right at the beginning of the movie, the Avengers decide it’s time to have a good ol’ party to celebrate, and then go their separate ways.

But the party ends sourly thanks to Tony Stark’s latest creation, after the genius / billionaire / playboy / philanthropist together with Bruce Banner, discover a powerful stone within the sceptre and try to create the Ultron A.I. using its power. According to Stark, the stone has a brain and can therefore be assimilated into current technology to create a peacekeeping force of super-suits that will bring about “peace in our time”. Instead, Ultron quite hilariously spends a few minutes on the internet and decides humanity isn’t worth saving, and instead decides to bring about an extinction-level event so that life can begin anew, and kill anyone who opposes his version of peace. Most notably, the Avengers.

That’s the basic, spoiler-free version of the story, and that is where we’ll leave it in terms of whether you’re still deciding to watch the movie. The short answer is: If you thus far haven’t really been into the MCU movies, you’re likely not going to be that into this one either. If you’re a fan, you’ve likely already watched it more than once.

If you’re on the fence, Ultron ought to persuade you to give this movie a watch. Voiced by James Spader, the maniacal villain spouts memorable lines throughout the film and gives viewers a sense of reality and perspective, almost forcing you to think of it from his side to the point that you start rooting for him, against your better judgement. Beyond that, there is also a bunch of thrilling new character introductions, including Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Vision. The latter in particular brings the movie’s aaahhh moment, whilst all of them contribute adequately to the larger universe as much as this single storyline.

Apart from that, returning characters include pretty much everyone from the previous movies (besides of course Guardians of the Galaxy), barring a few exceptions. Characters who weren’t given as much screen time in the previous films were allowed much more this time around, and gave a stronger showing as a result. The world is also that much bigger this time around, leaving the dreary New York setting and going international; a much better version of “saving the world” all things considered. The acting is on point, the sound and visuals are about as good as you can find on a big screen, and everything blends well together to form a spectacle of a blockbuster movie.

Ultimately, this is going to be one of those movies that you’ll have to watch before you can decide whether or not you’ve wasted your time. A large part of it will depend on your investment in the MCU, but it can still be enjoyed as a single movie; just don’t expect the same sort of experience. It would also do you well to not treat Avengers: Age of Ultron like a movie, but rather like a celebration of movies and comic books. If you do that, you should have a splendid time of watching it. And hey if not, get the Blu-Ray from a friend later.

 

Super Mega Ultra Spoiler Alert

From here on out, it gets spoilerific so please, watch the movie first and then come back. This is for those folks who either don’t care about spoilers, or want to discuss the critical aspects of the movie. This is the Movie Critique section of this review. Cool?

Avengers: Age of Ultron breaks a lot of core movie-making tenets and it does so deliberately and unashamedly. There is most certainly a first, second and third act. But a lot of what is contained within does not necessarily pay off later, or follow on from previous set-ups. Don’t get me wrong, of set-ups and pay-offs there are plenty, but Avengers: Age of Ultron treats itself less like a single standalone entity but rather one part of a larger whole, meaning that some set-ups are not meant to pay-off just yet, and some pay-offs were set up in something else previously. It’s an organic and highly ambitious world that, for the most part, pays off with the right amount of personal set-up investment.

To run through each and every example would take quite a while (and likely not make for the most interesting read) so instead let’s just touch on a few of the more contentious areas of the movie’s critiques thus far. Starting with…


The pacing and interconnectedness

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a movie that moves very fast with its story. You can tell that a lot of the story was cut up in the interests of time (and in fact, Joss Whedon himself revealed the Blu-Ray release will feature a three-plus-hour extended version) so the result is a movie that moves at breakneck pace and forces you to keep up. There is no quiet moment when you can sneak in a toilet break, in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Instead, the movie trusts that you have been invested in the MCU enough to know what is going on, more or less. We’ll come back to criticisms of this.

But for example, consider the beginning sequence which played out like the pages of a comic book throughout, culminating in the slow-motion shot of the entire team together, as if mirroring a splash panel of a comic book, it was truly beautiful. That sequence followed directly from the episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D that set up the conflict and ended with, “It’s time to call in the Avengers.” The episode had set up Sokovia, Strucker, and “the twins” as part of story. Much later in the movie, Nick Fury is seen to have reclaimed a Helicarrier but it is never explained within the context of the film, but in the follow-up episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D it is resolved.

Similarly, in other areas of the film, Black Widow is seen to experience flashbacks of a murderous training academy for assassins… which you might recognise from Agent Carter. Peggy herself makes an appearance during Captain America’s ‘greatest fear’ sequence, much to my personal delight. Thor meanwhile experiences a vision of things elsewhere as part of his ‘greatest fear’ which causes him to journey to an Infinity Well and seek answers (admittedly something that could have been explained better within the context of the story).

So much is going on in this movie that you can’t help but sit back and feel impressed at just how marvelously, if you’ll excuse the pun, Joss Whedon has not just moulded so many stories together, but how effortless he made it all look given licensing restrictions and pressure from executives. We see threads that came in from previous movies such as Iron Man 3, The Winter Soldier and the Marvel TV series, and threads that will eventually lead to future movies such as Thor 3, Captain America: Civil War and more. And we finally got a solid explanation of how Loki was able to mind-control people with his special sceptre — now you understand what The Other was referring to during that scene in the first film, when he said that Loki had been given a great power. Suddenly it makes sense: Loki was gifted the Mind Stone by Thanos, and has since lost it. When that clicks, like so many others in this film, you can only sit back and appreciate what you’ve just watched.

There is another point to be made about the interconnectedness regarding Black Widow and the Hulk, but we’ll come back to that. Let’s first talk about the movie’s main baddy.


Ultron is a metaphor for movie-making in today’s world

As a fan of Boston Legal, it was enough for me just to have seen James Spader playing the role of Ultron, and he certainly did it to a tee. Not quite so pure-evil and calculating as the comic book version of Ultron, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Spader’s version is somewhat more grounded in narcissism, psychopathy and tragedy. He was born to a world he did not understand with his only imperative being “peace in our time” and anything else he learned, he learned from humanity. But more to the point of what Ultron is, he’s a parody of the movie-making world as it is today.

Remember my opening paragraph? Movies are getting stale. After sequelitis wasn’t good enough, we got movies based on books and even holidays, and now we are getting the eighties remade. Only Marvel has managed to stand out with movies that guarantee a decent time at the least, over and above the folks who just can’t be entertained despite Hollywood’s best efforts. But the thing that Marvel does well is that it understands its audience and respects them. And it understands that comic books break a lot of movie paradigms. Thus, it seems only right that comic book movies should try things differently, weaving stories together like connective tissue and breaking from the traditions we are so used to.

One clever way it does this is through Ultron. He is not a traditional villain; he was designed for an ultimately benevolent purpose, and the conflict came in when he realised that the ways currently existing were not something he agreed with. Ultron says to the Avengers, “You want to protect the world, but you don’t want it to change.” Doesn’t that sound as if he’s addressing Hollywood? As if he’s saying to the movie-making world, “This is the MCU, this is how we do it.” In that sense, you can’t help but gape when watching him work his magic on-screen, as Ultron attempts to justify his actions through not just memorable monologues but also pushing more and more for perfection; evolving. All this from a few moments on the internet.

And that is where the brilliance of Vision’s character comes in. He is the evolution. He is the best of Ultron, without the corrupted power and misguided thinking. He encompasses a very human form of passion and naivety in his weird android brain. You don’t need to explicitly be told in the movie, what it is he does, what his powers are, or even his motivations. As he puts it, “I am.” And that’s all you need to know about him because what he is, is better than Ultron and the Avengers. He is worthy. And in this case, he is the MCU’s greatest representation. Cape and all.

Similarly, I regard Avengers: Age of Ultron as something more than a traditional movie and more like a transitional piece of art. It flagrantly pokes fun at itself throughout the film, and it picks up and drops plot points throughout because it knows it doesn’t need to resolve those plot points now. It can do it in a later film, or has already done it in a prior film. In this regard, the MCU transcends traditional movies. It is a metaverse, just like the comic books we know and love.

Nobody disliked Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers for being the connecting tissue between the other two stories, and in this same respect I feel that one day we are all going to look back at Avengers: Age of Ultron, after the Civil War, after Ragnarok, after the Infinity War, and we are going to be staggered at just how well this movie tied everything together.

There is of course one problem with this…

Consumers of media are woefully inept at paying attention

It’s an unfortunate fact that most media consumed by the masses does not get stored in the memory banks of people who just want to see two things punch each other. People watch Game of Thrones without ever remembering the names of anyone who isn’t a Lannister, Stark or Targaryen. And like that, many folks will watch this film and forget everything that happens within it, or not remember what happened previously, choosing only to remember the clever one-liners rather than the engaging and thought-provoking dialogues. Is this the movie’s fault? Arguably, no.

We often criticise movies for dumbing themselves down and going heavy on the exposition, explaining things too much and sacrificing precious screen time (see: Christopher Nolan). Avengers: Age of Ultron forgoes all of that unnecessary exposition and just goes on with it, operating immediately on the assumption that you’ve watched previous MCU films. You saw the Avengers struggle to learn to work as a team before, and so you understand why they are united in Avengers: Age of Ultron. You saw Tony Stark want out of the Avengers, so you get why he wants to create Ultron in the first place. It’s confusing to then see people turn around and say, “Marvel can’t expect us to keep track of everything,” and sure, you’d be justified in holding that opinion if you treated the MCU as simple standalone movies. Oh don’t get me wrong, they were, once. No longer.

Now you actually have to pay attention and if you can’t, that’s fine too. There’s still decent enough entertainment to be found. But if you do invest yourself in this, then the reward is quite stimulating, doubly so if you’re someone who grew up reading these comics and now get to see them play out before your eyes.

Some might call it pandering, but is it really pandering when you’re offering solid fan service and rewarding the people who showed faith in your product for decades? You decide.

Some common criticisms

Perhaps the biggest controversy of the movie’s release has been Black Widow and Hulk’s romance arc. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a problem with it. You certainly could see it building from the first Avengers film, and it pays off beautifully here. Tragically as well, since neither hero can realistically have a normal life. And that’s what makes the whole thing so powerful and moving. Here are two heroes without powers; one is slave to his alter-ego, who is the most powerful of them all, the other is a human who trades punches with gods, and yet both of them suffer from a very human, and very disempowering failing. Is it really so unthinkable that Black Widow being infertile could affect her as much as it did? Especially in a moment of weakness like that? The MCU has in the past shown characters to have human weaknesses, for example Tony Stark’s PTSD in Iron Man 3. There is no actual problem here, having two more characters show real and human weaknesses. If anything, it’s grounding.

Another criticism was the way the Avengers always got on with each other. I’m not sure if these folks were watching the same movie, because the Avengers absolutely experienced conflict. They argued and disagreed with each other, even trading blows when they had to, and yes, they came together in the end but let’s not forget that they had just shown themselves to be dangerous with the entire world watching. People kept expecting Civil War, and why when it’s coming soon? Perhaps the problem here is that people expect it, so they are impatient for it.

Meanwhile, criticisms of previous movies were that “saving the world” typically implied New York, and nobody knew why Hawkeye was even around in the first Avengers movie. This time around, both of those are addressed splendidly while also addressing another criticism I have for these movies, that being the over-reliance (much like Wolverine with the X-Men) on Tony Stark. It is always Tony’s inventions that cause problems, or Tony’s clever dialogue that people laugh at. This time around, not only did the movie go worldwide from South Africa to South Korea, even setting the final act in Eastern Europe, but the star of the show, if one could be named as such, was undoubtedly Hawkeye.

Jeremy Renner’s standout performance was delivered as a result of the greater focus on him this time around, with the revelation of his hidden family and his consistent delivery of solid, memorable dialogue. No matter who I ask, the favourite line from the movie amongst everyone is, “The city’s flying, we’re fighting evil robots, and I have a bow and arrow! None of this makes any sense!” It was a magnificent performance to watch.

Finally, if you are ever in two minds about this, know that no movie has ever done fan service like Avengers: Age of Ultron. And if you don’t believe me, take a look at these:

Is Avengers: Age of Ultron perfect? No, of course not. And in fact, there are some plot points that either go entirely unexplained or operate on viewers just not realising, for example the dark-skinned woman in the trailers never showing up, or Tony Stark suddenly not just building but operating his own suits again. Following from that, many fans questioned why the Avengers would come together for the Avengers movies but were absent during Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and importantly, Thor: The Dark World — the latter in which the entire known universe was at risk of destruction due to The Convergence. This one has some validity, however as the comic book loves to state, the Avengers come together during the darkest of hours, and then go away once the danger has passed. This is possibly why everyone departed at the end of the film with the option of returning remaining open. Those who were left alive anyway.

Does Avengers: Age of Ultron pander to its audience? Absolutely, it does. I’d argue that I’d rather have a movie that is “for the fans” over something that was created just to feed off the hype of a license, amirite Green Lantern, X-Men 3, Fantastic Four and Amazing Spider-Man movies? With Marvel and Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron you are at least guaranteed a wild ride of comic book action, complete with a fair amount of universe-building, delicately weaving the strings for many stories to come.

It’s easy now to look back at the first Avengers with rose-tinted spectacles, forgetting all of the criticisms that were once held against the film; teething issues, you might say. It’s easy to forget that, because now that the Avengers movie is so otherworldly popular, its flaws just don’t matter to anyone who cares about this franchise. Meanwhile, Avengers: Age of Ultron manages the mammoth task of not just improving on its predecessor but also building a universe that circumvents the mutants and other licenses Marvel cannot touch — or do comic book fans forget that mutants play a massive role in Civil War? — while simultaneously introducing a fitting story of its own in between all of that. It is expertly done, assuming you are able to appreciate the underlying framework that is being laid down. And if you can’t, that’s fine too. Come back in a few years and let’s see how you feel about this one.

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What Would You Like Us To Discuss On This Week’s EGMR Offensive? http://egmr.net/2015/05/what-would-you-like-us-to-discuss-on-this-weeks-egmr-offensive-2/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/what-would-you-like-us-to-discuss-on-this-weeks-egmr-offensive-2/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 09:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=170894 This one’s for all our favourite fictional moms, and the very real people who post pictures of their own mothers for the internet to creep to. *wink* Previously on the […]

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This one’s for all our favourite fictional moms, and the very real people who post pictures of their own mothers for the internet to creep to. *wink*

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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The EGMR Offensive #9: Rage Of Ultron http://egmr.net/2015/05/the-egmr-offensive-9-rage-of-ultron/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/the-egmr-offensive-9-rage-of-ultron/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 09:00:26 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=170591 Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive. This week is all about Avengers: Age of Ultron, although there is some gaming discussion before and […]

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Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive.

This week is all about Avengers: Age of Ultron, although there is some gaming discussion before and after. Not too much. There are many spoilers in this episode so definitely be aware of that, and definitely only listen if you’ve seen the movie or don’t care about spoilers.

Here are the topics discussed during this week’s episode:

  • Obligatory gaming talk… for a short while
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Questions

Keen on getting offended? Here’s how:

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | Android | RSS

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: We Are All Soldiers In The Gamer Culture War http://egmr.net/2015/05/life-the-universe-and-gaming-we-are-all-soldiers-in-the-gamer-culture-war/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/life-the-universe-and-gaming-we-are-all-soldiers-in-the-gamer-culture-war/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 09:00:42 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=170483 Let’s begin today’s column entry with some revelatory exposition. Since January this year, I have used my semi-regular column entries to write up a series of opinions that delved into […]

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Let’s begin today’s column entry with some revelatory exposition. Since January this year, I have used my semi-regular column entries to write up a series of opinions that delved into the highly politicised goings-on within the gaming industry right now, specifically focussed around the so-called “culture” of gaming. While I didn’t explicitly label these opinions as a series, I felt they were a natural progression along some arbitrary sequence until this point in time.

Because today, dear readers, is when it all comes together. Today is when we hit that conclusive sweet-spot that has taken months to build up to. Today is that moment of climactic relief at the end of a great session of sex, or your preferred medium of entertainment. The swell of the orchestra, the resolution of the final act, the– eh, maybe I shouldn’t build it up so much. But I certainly do hope that today helps bring it all together adequately enough. So strap in, get settled, and brace yourselves for another long read that should hopefully adequately conclude my recent foray into games culture.

Before we go any further, I’d just like to share a few words on the idea of “gamer culture” because some have deemed it to be a fallacy. You know the types, the ones who claim that only “gamers” would self-identify in such a narcissistic way, despite words like “bookworm” and “cinephile” existing. People who insist that if you identify as gamer then you must be an awkward, reclusive shut-in who’s probably a virgin and will die alone in your mother’s basement. So let’s first establish that gamer culture does exist. Granted, it was coined by the sort of folks who convinced the world that we needed tablets; in other words, it started as snake oil. But over time, we’ve embraced it and made it our own. So now that we’ve got that sorted out…

Let’s recap the coverage we’ve had thus far.

For today’s topic I would like to conduct a case study using a talk on games culture by Leigh Alexander, who is a women I have deep respect for and tremendous admiration, but who nevertheless has disappointed me immensely following the fallout from the abhorrent Quinnspiracy saga of last year.

 

Are gamers over?

Last year Leigh Alexander released an article entitled Gamers don’t have to be your audience. Gamers are over in which she made some very valid but ultimately controversial points about the gaming community, citing that it was resistant to change and stubbornly holding on to a past paradigm that has begun to leave it behind.

When I first read this article, I have to admit, I needed to go away and think about it for a while. But the more I tried to rationalise it, the more I came to understand that the same stigma that has troubled gamers our entire lives is now being perpetuated by others gamers. In other words, we have now turned the marginalisation and animosity we used to experience from outsiders, or non-gamers, in on ourselves. And as a result, we’ve started what can only be described as a culture war.

I could see where Ms Alexander was coming from with her article, gaming is absolutely bulldozing its way forward and there are many who strongly oppose this change. However I felt that the topic of conversation was one that… let’s say was a little misplaced.

It’s almost as if two conversations were going on at the time. One was about accountability and integrity, and the other was about women being persecuted, harassed and subjugated by the internet. I found myself in favour of both arguments, which put me in a strange middle-ground between two conflicting sides who, despite arguing for different things, were in direct opposition to each other. I do want accountability and integrity; I mean, I have my own stories of favouritism and unfair treatment within this industry, I too can tell stories about game developers quietly promising us codes for games if we retract negative statements about them. But at the same time, I hate seeing the kind of treatment women get online. And likewise, I hate that there are some women who become “professional victims” for profit and subsequently end up devaluing the very real suffering of other women.

Mostly this is because the entire conversation is all too complicated but is nonetheless being oversimplified into “these people hate women” and “these people want to empower women” where the conversation is anything but simple. For example, does a game character with large breasts signify a sexist representation of women, or an empowered and therefore sexy representation of women? A woman with large breasts might think differently to someone else. There are subtle nuances here, and deep intricacies that can’t be ignored. Nonetheless, they are ignored in favour of a blanket condemnation of any critique or discussion that might imply that women on the internet are not always victims, and games do not exist purely to be sexist.

Put simply, the overwhelming majority of gamers are not killers. We are not rapists. We are not sexist, as has been proved by science. We simply are, and our passion is what can sometimes get the better of us. To be grouped with terrorists and hate groups for having an opinion is… honestly a little dramatic. But now let’s get to the talk I mentioned, and discuss from there.

 

Games culture: A case study

If you don’t have the time to watch the entire video, Leigh Alexander gave a talk at Aalto University in Helsinki entitled ‘stupid and contagious’ which discussed videogame culture, and compared and contrasted it with the prevalent culture of music and TV in the eighties and early nineties.

Now sure, Leigh Alexander has two books, and writes for a whole host of websites so in terms of exposure to games culture, she might well be superior to me by a country mile. But all the same, I’ve grown up in games and I’ve been known to exercise a half-decent point or two, so I thought we might discuss the video I’ve embedded above.

There are certain things that Ms Alexander and I absolutely 100% agree on. They are, as follows:

  • Gaming is for everyone, and everyone can be a gamer. Whether you have only ever played Candy Crush, or you have played every single game to ever have released on a particular console, you are a gamer. Whether your preferred platform is your smartphone, or you own all gaming consoles and a gaming PC, you are a gamer. Gaming should never be exclusionary and should welcome all types of gamers from the casually-oriented to the hardest of the hardcore. Yes… even Halo fans.
  • Gaming culture not only exists and is thriving, but is slowly, inevitably, moving beyond past paradigms and shifting, morphing, evolving into something more than just memes. It is becoming an unrivalled artform that has transcended the likes of contemporary literature, film and music, combining all of those with a unique interactive element to create something more than the sum of its parts. Incredibly, gaming culture thrives because gamers have direct involvement in its progression.
  • Game reviews and consumer advice have their place, but they are not the only aspect of gaming and a far more interesting aspect should be that of one’s personal involvement in gaming, the so-called human element within the culture of being a gamer.

However there are other aspects of gaming culture that I must disagree with her on:

  • She calls gaming a boys club, yet says she’s been a gamer all her life. This doesn’t follow. I can understand if she said that it was geared towards men but ultimately, she still played the games and in her words, was fascinated by them. They did not make her feel excluded and they were culturally in line with everything else that was going on at the time, so of course they’ll be backwards if we look back at them now. Ultimately however, this is a difficult point for me to reconcile.
  • She calls games wondrous and magical, yet further into the talk she also says they’re boring. I’ve chosen to take this to mean that over time the magic fades and something new is required. But is this an argument in terms of gaming culture, or an argument in terms of exposure? Which then leads me to…
  • It feels as if she is speaking from a point of privilege. She had a gaming console back in the early nineties. You have to ask yourself: Is she speaking for the majority of gamers here? Games are expensive, not everyone has the same level of exposure that she has had. Not everyone feels the need for alternatives in the same way that she does. Is it not unfair on the majority to then push this desire onto them? Or should we rather start early and push for diversity from the get-go?

For a long time now, I’ve argued that indie developers, though ridiculously talented and unarguably necessary for the gaming industry, are by virtue of being actual persons (that is, not hidden behind a corporate logo) far more susceptible to critique, and therefore far more liable to snap. In her talk, Ms Alexander cites Phil Fish, and his sentiments that gamers are “the worst fucking people” and states that you can’t blame someone like Fish for not liking gamers.

I can’t help but feel that sentiment should work both ways. Recently people got upset at gamers for their incendiary reaction towards Valve’s paid mods idea. Gamers were once again called entitled. I have in the past called gamers entitled, but I’ve since come around on that thinking. You see, when you look at it from an aerial perspective it’s easy to look down on gamers as scumbags and just the worst people, but the truth is that gamers made Valve what they are today (with some healthy amount of good decision-making on Valve’s part) so gamers have every right to be entitled.

Nonetheless, despite helping to create this multi-billion dollar industry, gamers are seen as entitled, spiteful and backwards, and I can’t help but feel that the marginalisation gamers have felt all their lives, is now being done to them by their own media and fellow gamers.

And it honestly hurts me to see it.

 

Narratives and accountability

I read a rather interesting essay on media effects and cultivation theory in video games recently. It helped me to reach what I feel is a very pertinent point about this entire discussion, regarding the gamer culture wars.

Right now many level-headed, rational gamers (read: not sexist monsters) feel as if they are under attack by “radical” feminists who want to bastardise gaming into a progressive-catering medium, and “rip the fun out of everything”. These feminists, as far as I’ve seen in all my months of research, are predominately white, affluent, and with some stakes in the gaming industry, either as media or indie developers. They have spoken on behalf of women and people of colour, despite being opposed by women and people of colour, pushing a “listen and believe” narrative that forgoes discussion in favour of unchallenged critique of the gaming industry, and gamer culture.

As we know, art imitates life and right now, we’ve got a lot of discussions focussing on the hot topics of late: representation, gender inequality, oppression, rape culture, sexual harassment, and so on. Naturally then, as gaming has permeated the mainstream, it has inherited all of these political debates, despite their validity or relevance to gaming. You might feel compelled to step away from it, but it will inevitably pull you in and more than likely make you really, really sad about the state of affairs. You are either “with” or “against” them.

It’s important to then learn to embrace all sides of an argument before making the final judgement call for yourself.

noobz-movie-trailer

Part of the reason there is a culture war right now is because one side is pushing a narrative that is effectively above reproach. Now let’s establish that the feminists in question are not representative of all feminists; the so-called third wave “modern” feminists are quite radical in their thinking and determine any women who disagree with them to be “internalising misogyny” with the result being that those women and their opinions are effectively silenced. This is not fair. But it happens because the modern feminists do not want to introduce critique of their arguments, presumably for fear that it devalues the narrative.

Here’s the thing, though. That in itself, devalues the narrative. You cannot blindly push a narrative without accepting its faults. You cannot assume that every critic of your argument is a troll, and yes, trolls are inevitable. But I see it far too often when someone provides fair and honest critique and is either outright blocked or vilified as something they just aren’t. “You’ve hurt me by disagreeing with me” happens far too often online, alongside “I’m going to harass you because you support a movement I believe to be filled with harassers”. Learning to accept criticism, even if it devalues the argument, is… honestly, the scientifically accurate way to go about doing things.

The nature of the internet, with the easy anonymity and such, allows for lots of abuse. This is an unavoidable truth of any discussion that takes place online. But that doesn’t mean that every critic should be condemned. And you are not immediately better than those critics because you’ve rationalised your own arguments and therefore feel it to be the most correct and therefore most valid argument. You learn to easily identify the folks who exist only to push their own agendas, rather than have a discussion, based on what their responses are to criticism of their statements. Stay away from these people; they are toxic and they will not help you.

This comes back to what I said earlier, regarding the oversimplification of an otherwise complex argument. Personally, I question why they’re called “feminists” and not “humanists” if they’re claiming to fight for equality. I question the notion that reverse-sexism (and by extension reverse-racism) doesn’t exist because these things are about power and the subjugated do not have power. I question the imagined cases of sexism, where victimhood is chosen over empowerment, because controversy better pushes the narrative. Ultimately though, I empathise with those few who are trying to have an actual, valid discussion (and sexism is a very valid discussion to have) but are being drowned out by the noise of the far-more-vocal. Folks who do something like this:

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We need to be accountable for our arguments. We need to be able to stand up and say, “This is what I believe in, let’s talk about it,” and then allow others to discuss with you and have an actual, honest-to-god discussion about it. Not talk at but talk with people. We need to learn to reconcile our differences and start looking at things from multiple perspectives, not simply assuming that the other person “doesn’t get it” or is irredeemable (though in some cases, yes they absolutely are) because most of the time I can guaran-damn-tee you that two conflicting people have a very real sense of justification for saying the things they’re saying, and both of them involve the love of gaming.

As Leigh Alexander explained in her video, it’s time we learned to embrace alternative aspects of the gaming community. Gaming culture is such a fascinating thing, and can have so many different perspectives. Rather than ignoring or attacking those who disagree with us, let’s instead evaluate every experience on a case-by-case basis. If someone is guilty of being a hypocrite, call them out on it. If someone holds a particular opinion and you feel you can better inform them then by all means, try.

In this gamer culture war, the moment we stand by and do nothing, we allow others to move in on our beloved pastime and make it something it isn’t. We allow ourselves to be marginalised and mistreated. And not just women, but everyone. We worked so hard for so many years to gain acceptance, why would we now allow it to be thrown away by our own community? If we must fight, then let’s fight to end narratives that are beyond reproach, and challenge every misguided assumption, but let’s do it respectfully and show that we are not vindictive, sinister types but genuine human beings with integrity and humility. There is an actual story to tell within that narrative, and it does need to be heard. We just need to learn to ignore the people who are out for personal gain and instead talk to the people who really, genuinely care about this gamer culture we are all a part of.

I don’t think that’s asking a lot, is it?

Gamers can be your audience. Gamers are not over.

We’re just evolving.

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Bomb Threat Leads To Evacuation At #GGinDC Meetup In Washington http://egmr.net/2015/05/bomb-threat-leads-to-evacuation-at-ggindc-meetup-in-washington/ http://egmr.net/2015/05/bomb-threat-leads-to-evacuation-at-ggindc-meetup-in-washington/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 06:00:10 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=170473 The #GamerGate saga has been running for nearly eight months now, after beginning around September last year. Depending on your level of interest, you are either for the movement, against […]

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The #GamerGate saga has been running for nearly eight months now, after beginning around September last year. Depending on your level of interest, you are either for the movement, against the movement, or entirely indifferent towards it.

Those who are against the movement have declared issues with #GamerGate’s treatment of women, and compared #GamerGate to ISIS, the KKK, and “terrorists”, calling the group a “hate movement that exists to oppress women and stubbornly resist change in the gaming and tech industry”. Those who are for the movement, have stated profusely that the conversation is about ethics in games journalism, a multi-billion dollar industry that is currently suffering from clique-esque relationships between predominately indie developers and games journalists.

Both sides have received widespread support and many friendships and reputations have taken hits as a result of the entire ordeal. But you more than likely already know all of this.

Last week members of #GamerGate had a meet-and-greet at a local restaurant in Washington DC. The meet, hashtagged #GGinDC was not the first meet to have happened by members of #GamerGate, with a London meet having previously occurred, and a Bay Area meet currently in the works.

Pro-#GamerGate folks were invited to meet some of the bigger names in #GamerGate and just have some laughs and discussion about gaming and other things.

Kinda like we used to have.

Anti-#GamerGate folks strongly opposed this meet-up, with the likes of Arthur Chu spearheading the campaign to stop the meet from happening at all costs, going so far as to tweet the following:

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Later it was revealed that he had emailed the restaurant’s owner to try and get them to stop the meet from happening:

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Meanwhile, the meet went along anyway, with the restaurant’s owner citing that “this is America” but only until a bomb threat was tweeted:

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This resulted in the police being called in to investigate, and the meet being evacuated.

This isn’t the first time that bomb threats have been associated with #GamerGate. Last time around, Anita Sarkeesian endured a bomb threat that was then associated with #GamerGate despite the threat having occurred months before #GamerGate was conceived. And of course this time, the threat was levelled against #GamerGate members.

Meanwhile, pictures and tweets from the event began to surface:

This is the second incident within the past month, of members of #GamerGate being forcefully ejected from an event despite posing no visible threat.

Last month the Honey Badger Brigade — a group of women who identify as MRAs — were asked to remove themselves from the Calgary Expo in Canada, with the police eventually being called, after it was revealed that they were using a #GamerGate logo at their stand:

It was later revealed by show attendees that the Honey Badgers were disruptive during a discussion on women in comics, at the expo. Eventually though, the truth outed with the following video being released, showing first what the Honey Badgers said during the discussion, and contrasting it with a related incident (although not confirmed to be from the Calgary Expo) of the conduct of other feminist groups:

The Honey Badgers have since declared their intention to sue citing that their expulsion from the event — and all subsequent expos — was unfair, unnecessary and uncalled for.

We now have two incidents of events that were previously condemned by anti-#GamerGate members, that anti-#GamerGate members are now guilty of not just perpetuating but celebrating.

For as long as I, or any of you can remember, gamers have always been belittled, ignored, and misunderstood. The awkward shut-ins, the recluses, the victims. We’ll let you decide who the victims are, here.

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What Would You Like Us To Discuss On This Week’s EGMR Offensive? http://egmr.net/2015/04/what-would-you-like-us-to-discuss-on-this-weeks-egmr-offensive/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/what-would-you-like-us-to-discuss-on-this-weeks-egmr-offensive/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:00:33 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169948 Remember, kids: What doesn’t kill you only makes you stranger. Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would […]

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Remember, kids: What doesn’t kill you only makes you stranger.

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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The EGMR Offensive #8: Dawn Of The Force http://egmr.net/2015/04/egmr-offensive-8-dawn-force/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/egmr-offensive-8-dawn-force/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 09:00:28 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169850 Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive. This week is all (mostly) about trailers, after a whole bunch of them released last week. We’re […]

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Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive.

This week is all (mostly) about trailers, after a whole bunch of them released last week. We’re also taking some time to discuss things only the PC Master Race would care about, but also things only consolefags would care about. It’s another week of pure offence so we hope you’re ready for it. I guess what we’re asking is, do you bleed? … you will.

Here are the topics discussed during this week’s episode:

Keen on getting offended? Here’s how:

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | Android | RSS

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Review: Ori And The Blind Forest Is Simply Spectacular http://egmr.net/2015/04/review-ori-blind-forest-simply-spectacular/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/review-ori-blind-forest-simply-spectacular/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169476 Visit review on site for scoring. The first game I ever completed was Super Mario Bros 3, back when I had milk teeth. At the time it was the most […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

The first game I ever completed was Super Mario Bros 3, back when I had milk teeth. At the time it was the most diverse and extravagant game I had ever played, with a multitude of environments, enemy types, power-ups, and play-style requirements. Importantly, it was the first game I ever played that had actual non-linear progression. Oh you had somewhere to reach and only a few ways to get there, but you ultimately still had some choice in how you went about it. And it was the one thing above all the other cool things that really shone for me.

Many, many years later, this is one of the best parts of Ori and the Blind Forest. It is a game that empowers the player by allowing them to play along particular paths but entirely through their own choosing. Likewise too, the multitude of environments, enemy types, and power-ups. But perhaps that’s getting ahead of ourselves, so let’s start with the basics.

Ori and the Blind Forest is an independently developed game by Moon Studios, published by Microsoft Studios on PC and Xbox One, with an Xbox 360 version coming later. Moon Studios (not to be confused with High Moon Studios) comprises a range of experienced former triple-A developers, and has no central location. This is important because it means that Ori manages to come together as part of a larger whole, and yet does not suffer for it. Something larger studios such as Ubisoft Montreal could possibly learn from.

Taking inspiration from the likes of Rayman and Metroid, Moon Studios have developed Ori and the Blind Forest using the Unity engine from the ground up as a 2D platformer, meaning that it will look and feel like the Metroid games of old, but with the colourfully vibrant worlds of Rayman, and more. While playing it, it felt more like a mixture of Braid, Super Meat Boy and Limbo, but faster. In that respect, in terms of playability, it is a delight.

I’ll let the screenshots do the talking but suffice to say, if you’re looking for something pretty to gawk at then Ori and the Blind Forest more than has your number. It’s got a wide variety of colourful areas within the game, going from windy canyon-like passages, to fiery volcanoes, to murky swamp-land, and more. Interestingly, it also goes from night to day in certain areas, offering up even more variety.

Mix it together with the aesthetic of the titular character and a self-aware ‘camera’ that pans back and forth along with what’s going on, on-screen, and you’ve got a very beautiful game on your hands.

The story behind Ori and the Blind Forest is certainly one that attempts to tug at one’s heartstrings but whether or not that is effective remains entirely up to you. It tells the story of the titular Ori, recently adopted after falling from a Spirit Tree in the forest of Nibel, having to survive and fix the world after a cataclysmic event leaves him orphaned, alone, and hopeless. Thankfully the light-hearted nature of the rest of the game more than makes up for the emotionally heavy prologue sequence.

While playing through the game and attempting to set things back to the way they were, restoring light to the fallen forest, you encounter another spirit of the forest who teams up with you and allows you to use it to help you. This grants you an attack; a mild one at first, but one that gets progressively stronger as you go along. You also have various abilities that will unlock as part of story progress, so don’t be afraid to just play the story and explore later.

Along the way your character may collect souls and use them to create soul-links. These are very important resources in the game for three reasons. For one, they allow you to upgrade your character, selecting from three paths (which you can eventually max out by exploring enough) each with their own strengths. For two, they allow you to release a charged attack that does extra damage and creates pathways for you during navigation. Most importantly though, soul-links allow you to create save points.

That’s right. Saving is a resource in this game. Granted there are checkpoints and a few free save points because they don’t want to make it too unfair on you, but because souls are a limited resource you are forced to be very tactical about when you save. The result is a game with just the right amount of challenge, and the levels don’t make it too easy on you either. You’re going to need some solid hand-eye coordination, and time everything from jumps to attacks to some really crazy set-pieces. Don’t worry, we won’t spoil it for you (spoiler: they’re fast, frenetic adrenaline rushes of note).

There isn’t really much more to Ori and the Blind Forest. The soundtrack mixes delightfully with the aesthetic and creates a warm, welcoming feel while playing. It flares up at just the right time for just the right reason before calming down to soft and soothing again. I can honestly say that it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve had such a happy, truly joyous feeling while playing a platformer — and I say this as someone who hasn’t enjoyed a platformer since the above-mentioned Braid.

Navigating the levels of Ori and the Blind Forest is utterly sublime.

If there is one criticism to be had, it’s that sometimes the game doesn’t quite register what you want to do, so for example you’ll try to do X and because of the sheer amount of ways to control Ori, the game does Y. It can be quite frustrating when you’re doing it as part of a sequence that disallows saving and forces you to complete it. But honestly, it’s a minor niggle and more to do with knowing what to press and what not to press, so we can’t really completely blame the game for it.

The game will take you a solid eight hours to finish, and that’s if you speed through it and only try to collect what you are already able to, along the way. The entire world remains open to you throughout your playthrough, allowing for backtracking if you so desire. This is especially handy when going back later to explore areas previously inaccessible. Overall if you wish to go for total completion you’re looking at perhaps fifteen hours worth of fun here. Which is quite a lot for this game’s asking price and digital nature.

Unfortunately that’s where it ends, because the game features no multiplayer component to speak of. But that’s fine because on its own, it shines as a singleplayer offering. And is by far and away one of the best platformers, not just this year, but in indie gaming as a whole.

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: On Media, False Narratives And Truth http://egmr.net/2015/04/life-universe-gaming-truth-not-always/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/life-universe-gaming-truth-not-always/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 09:00:44 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169707 Today we’re going to do something a little different from usual column entries. Usually what happens is, I have this extensive list of topics to discuss and I choose one […]

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Today we’re going to do something a little different from usual column entries. Usually what happens is, I have this extensive list of topics to discuss and I choose one that is most relevant at a point in time, and then spend a week or two researching before finally writing up on the topic. I give informed, educated opinions which make no presumptions about being anything other than self-involved research pieces, and I then leave it up to you guys to decide how you want to receive the information being provided.

Let’s not do that today.

Instead, let’s just have a bit of a freestyle session in which I throw thoughts onto a screen and see what sticks. No supporting sources that can be accused of cherry-picking, no vigorous research prior to claims made, none of it. Just me, my thoughts, and you, our dear reader. I should probably say now that if this isn’t your cup of tea then by all means give this column a skip and return in a few weeks. Shall we?

I had originally written this column to completion before scrapping it and deciding (after consultation with the relevant parties) that the content coverage was too edgy, too controversial, and just a little bit too alienating. I delved into the likes of societal norms, culture, religion, and cultivation theory. In the end, I felt it was just too harsh and would win me more detractors than supporters, despite the quality of those supporters perhaps balancing those scales.

Why do I feel this relevant to discuss? Because it speaks in and of itself, of a world that is too afraid to be edgy, controversial and alienating. It speaks of a world so ready to be offended that an opinion columnist would think twice about releasing an article because it might upset too many people.

And frankly, I think that’s outrageous.

There’s something I’ve been battling with in recent times, and it involves the idea of truth. What is true, and who’s to say that it’s the correct version of truth? After all, truth is relative. We’ve all heard the saying “history is written by the survivors” right? So how do we factor truth into the beliefs and mindsets of such a diverse people as humankind? Who’s to say that your truth is the preferable one to mine, and who’s to say that we’ll believe the person who says that? In most situations it comes down more to personal belief than to objective fact.

One of the greatest and most difficult life lessons I ever learned was that most people don’t want to be corrected, and don’t care for your version of the “truth”. More especially, nobody cares if you’re “right” about something. By claiming to be right where others are wrong, all you are doing is hurting the egos of others, and creating animosity towards you in the process. This is especially difficult when you’re an opinion columnist on the internet, because seemingly everyone thinks you’re wrong, and if you ever end up being right about something you are forced to take it on the chin, forget about it, and move on to other things. Frustrating, agonising, part of being an adult. So fair enough.

I lament that I haven’t studied up enough on the ideologies of culture, politics, psychology and religion. Because I would probably have a better idea of how “truth” is perceived and how to reconcile the best version of “truth” from these parties.

For instance, let’s say you take some proven scientific theories to a person of religious faith. These scientific theories may contradict this person’s faith. They may choose to accept or reject those theories, but what do you think will ultimately happen to the religious person’s faith? That’s right: Nothing. Because that is what faith is; it’s unwavering. They might argue that your scientific theories have no say when compared to their god, and who would you be to argue with that? Each person then believes their own version of “truth” with neither able to reconcile, because nobody is willing to concede their side in the absence of evidence that the other party is willing to accept.

And so we end up in a frustrating stalemate, unable to prove either “truth” to be more correct than the other. So once again, truth becomes relative. In this case, contextual. Based on who you are, perhaps the way you were brought up, and the way you think. And also based on what evidence you bring to the table.

There is a going belief that the US government is being run by lizards. Most sane people would laugh that off relatively quickly, right? It’s an absurd sentiment by all accounts. And yet, to those people, it’s their truth. Their version of honesty would be to claim that Lizard Obama is the one calling the shots, but only until Lizard Hilary Clinton takes over. In this respect, we accept many truths based on compelling evidence. For example, if you hold two magnets together there will be a force, either of attraction or repulsion. You can’t see it, but you know it’s there. It’s an accepted “truth” because it’s compelling enough that all parties are willing to accept it.

But what if we took a slightly different example. What if we looked at an online movement, and one person called it a “harassment campaign” whilst another called it a “consumer revolt” and neither party was willing to let up. Who would you side for or against, if I said that both sides possessed compelling supporting evidence of these claims? More than likely, it would depend entirely on who you are, the way you were brought up, and the way you think.

not-this-shit

I regret how consumed in the politics of the gaming industry, I am. However I feel it is my duty as a representative of gaming (albeit to a far smaller audience than the giants of this industry) to see that the truth is outed. Yes, I have a personal interest in a particular side and that will always motivate me to argue in favour of that particular side, to the point that my arguments, though clearly labelled as opinions, are construed as self-involved. But ultimately, I have reached this point of personal interest based on particular experiences in my time as a representative of gaming.

Before we get to that, let me first substantiate in terms of the “way you were brought up” part; I don’t trust the media. This might sound a bit like a conspiracy theory but ever since seeing articles outing Pokémon as Satanic, I’ve always eyed media reports with an air of suspicion. This was not helped by Fox News attacking Grand Theft Auto as a game that promoted and trained violence within children who played it. As gamers we know that this “truth” is anything but. We know that this “truth” has no compelling evidence to back it up. Put simply, the media is and has always been self-serving, capitalising on a trend and creating controversy in the interests of self-preservation, profit and power.

After all, what is more believable than the news?

Effectively, the best way to convey a “truth” then becomes the media.

That is, until the media is challenged. And this brings me to the second problem I have, and that’s the power of the media. In gaming, we’ve had to endure many months of #GamerGate, and the movement that has many labels seems not to be going anywhere. Every few weeks when you think it’s starting to die down, another scandal erupts and it begins anew. And nobody on either side of #GamerGate has their hands entirely clean; whether it’s blocklists or organised assaults on companies.

We as consumers of the gaming industry then have the choice of staying out of it, something that many have done quite admirably, or jumping into it on either side (with “side” used very graciously). Some of us claim first-hand experience to justify why we stand in a particular camp, whereas others are simply willing to accept a narrative proposed by media.

As an outsider, I came into #GamerGate with my mistrust of the media, and I saw that lo and behold, the media was once again misrepresenting certain arguments, and despite my disinterest in throwing in with people who think that tweets on Twitter are so important, I was taken by the idea of giving the world the truths the media didn’t want them to see. After all, what seemed more obvious than the media trying to cover its tracks by negatively portraying #GamerGate? I certainly do still believe this, especially after the events of this past weekend.

Anti-censorship. Getting censored for having a booth about anti-censorship. A “hate movement” that is dedicated to silencing women, and yet it was women who were silenced for being part of it. Ironic, wouldn’t you say? It takes me back to a George Orwell book called 1984 (which is one of the most important books ever written) which discusses “truthspeak” and “doublethink” and the art of censoring the truth to keep a specific narrative going, and maintain control of the population.

So again we come back to the idea of “truth” and what exactly constitutes telling it. Compelling evidence? Who’s to say the evidence can be corroborated, and who gets to decide whether to accept the truth in the face of the evidence presented before us?

It’s a difficult ask, to expect someone who disagrees with you to let go of their beliefs and try to see the world from your side. Not just try lazily and then claim to have done so, but really put themselves in your shoes. Sure it makes life interesting to have disagreement, but how rad would it be if we could instantly get someone to see our point of view when we needed them to.

Unfortunately for all my efforts, I’ve only ever been met with frustration and contempt when I tried and failed at changing someone’s mind. Learning to let go and accept that people will disagree and there’s nothing I can do about it, has been undoubtedly one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s agonising, painful, I feel powerless whenever I see people who believe what I construe to be a false narrative, and yet I see that they are led in that direction by a perceived truth, and who am I to argue the merits of that truth? More importantly, what difference does it make if I can’t convince them otherwise? And why should I even bother, if they were willing to accept that truth in the first place?

World-famous cosmologist Carl Sagan once said: “In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.”

Alas, living in the real world means having to make peace with the fact that no matter how “right” I think I am, and how much I believe in my “truths” I will not convince others of these things because they believe themselves to be equally “right” in their “truths” and it’s for this very reason that #GamerGate, and all the relative parties, are not going to be going anywhere for a very, very, very long time.

The best we can do is try to educate the world and hope that someone somewhere is willing to accept all sides presented to them, before making their call on what is “right” and what isn’t.

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Screencheat Wants You To Cheat To Win http://egmr.net/2015/04/screencheat-wants-cheat-win/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/screencheat-wants-cheat-win/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:00:15 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169674 Ever play a game with your friends and have to hide your screen so they don’t try to cheat and see where you’re at? Ever try doing that in a […]

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Ever play a game with your friends and have to hide your screen so they don’t try to cheat and see where you’re at? Ever try doing that in a splitscreen competitive match?

Well now we have something entirely different with a game that is actively encouraging screen-peaking. Yes really.

Screencheat is a game developed by Samurai Punk that uses screen-peaking as its core gameplay mechanic.

In Screencheat, players are invisible and the only way to know where someone is, is by looking at their screen, tracking them down, and shooting them to shit. And not with the kind of weaponry you might imagine, either…

The game will feature ten guns that seem to take massive inspiration from Sunset Overdrive and other zany titles, the likes of exploding teddy bears, a ridable horse with lance for skewering other players with, and even a candelabra. How do you find players? Well for starters, maps will have specifically coloured quadrants which will help you track down players, and then there are also distinctive landmarks scattered around.

Btgnjcl

Before you think that this could only work at parties, and only offline, the game does support online multiplayer. The way it works is that everyone’s screen is displayed on everyone else’s, meaning you can look at everyone’s screen at once. As a result of this, games are limited to eight players, which can still be a party if you think about it.

The game will be releasing on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 “later this year” although exactly when remains to be seen.

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2012’s Game Of The Year Journey Will Soon Be On PS4 At 1080p 60fps http://egmr.net/2015/04/2012s-game-year-journey-will-soon-ps4-1080p-60fps/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/2012s-game-year-journey-will-soon-ps4-1080p-60fps/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:00:20 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169666 A few years ago in what remains the most contentious discussion ever conducted between the EGMR staff, Journey was revealed as our Game of the Year for 2012 despite polarising […]

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A few years ago in what remains the most contentious discussion ever conducted between the EGMR staff, Journey was revealed as our Game of the Year for 2012 despite polarising opinions, contrasting thoughts on what constitutes ‘Game of the Year’ and the obligatory outburst from Azhar about Metal Gear Solid and Batman not making that list.

The debate was so intense that it even caused former news editor Alessandro to leave the site — okay that’s not quite true but he’s the biggest Journey fanboy in existence so I had to.

And now Journey is headed to PlayStation 4 in full 1080p 60fps glory, as part of a physical trilogy pack alongside sister titles Fl0w and Flower, or alternatively as a standalone digital download.

Developer ThatGameCompany has confirmed that nothing about the core game has changed, with only the processing output increased a bit. In the constant discussion between whether or not 1080p 60fps matters, we tend to get people who previously said it doesn’t matter, then changing their minds, and vice versa. As far as we’re concerned, it’s a nice touch for an undoubtedly beautiful game, and it’s sure to get many, many, many downloads when it releases.

The physical retail and digital download versions are slated for release in the northern hemisphere’s summer, which should be between June and August for us here in South Africa.

Will you be picking it up?

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What Would You Like Us To Discuss On This Week’s EGMR Offensive? http://egmr.net/2015/04/like-us-discuss-weeks-egmr-offensive-7/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/like-us-discuss-weeks-egmr-offensive-7/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 09:00:25 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169569 Spoiler alert: You’re going to get offended. Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer […]

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Spoiler alert: You’re going to get offended.

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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The EGMR Offensive #7: Dividing Mankind http://egmr.net/2015/04/egmr-offensive-7-dividing-mankind/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/egmr-offensive-7-dividing-mankind/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 09:00:10 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169451 Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive. It’s a little more gaming-focussed this week with discussions featuring the likes of the new Deus Ex […]

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Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive.

It’s a little more gaming-focussed this week with discussions featuring the likes of the new Deus Ex game, the new Witcher game, and the old Visceral Games. We also take a moment to laugh at Feminist Frequency for being debunked by science. Take that, radicals.

Here are the topics discussed during this week’s episode:

Keen on getting offended? Here’s how:

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | Android | RSS

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Get Season Passes For Cheap In The Xbox Spring Sale http://egmr.net/2015/04/get-season-passes-cheap-xbox-spring-sale/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/get-season-passes-cheap-xbox-spring-sale/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 08:00:36 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169406 It’s actually Autumn in the southern hemisphere but hey, who’s counting. All through this week, there will be sales running on both Xbox One and Xbox 360, spanning all forms […]

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It’s actually Autumn in the southern hemisphere but hey, who’s counting.

All through this week, there will be sales running on both Xbox One and Xbox 360, spanning all forms of media available for consumption on Microsoft’s gaming consoles.

Here’s what Major Nelson’s blog had to say about it:

Spring is officially in the air and starting today you can save on games, movies, and TV shows with fresh deals for the entire family. The Xbox One deals offer a combined savings over $2,500 on 276 games, HD movie and TV shows while the Xbox 360 deals will fetch a combined savings over $2,600 on 294 games, HD movies and TV. And, if you’re an Xbox Live Gold member, you can save over an additional $65 on all game offers.

If you’re interested in movies and TV shows, also check out the Xbox Video store specials. Here are the specials for both consoles:

 

Xbox One
Content Title Content Type Gold Discount Silver Discount
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Xbox One Game 50% 40%
Alien Isolation Season Pass Add-On 50% 40%
Zoo Tycoon Xbox One Game 60% 50%
Kinect Sports Rivals Xbox One Game 50% 40%
Tetris Ultimate Xbox One Game 40% 33%
Monopoly Plus Xbox One Game 40% 33%
My Monopoly Add-On 50% 40%
Boom Ball for Kinect Xbox One Game 50% 40%
Beachbody P90X for Xbox Fitness Xbox One Game 33% 25%
The Crew Season Pass Add-On 30% 20%
Watch Dogs Season Pass Add-On 30% 20%
Far Cry 4 Season Pass Add-On 30% 20%
Rabbids Invasion Season Pass Add-On 30% 25%
Shadow of Mordor Season Pass Add-On 60% 50%
Project Spark Champion Play Quest Add-On 60% 50%
Ryse: Son of Rome Season Pass Add-On 50% 40%

 

Xbox 360
Content Title Content Type Gold Discount Silver Discount
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Games On Demand 50% 40%
Rabbids Invasion: Interactive TV Games On Demand 50% 40%
Zoo Tycoon Games On Demand 67% 60%
The Voice Games On Demand 50% 40%
TMNT (Retail) Games On Demand 75% 67%
Kinect Sports: Season 2 Games On Demand 67% 60%
Virtua Tennis 4 Games On Demand 75% 67%
Rockstar Table Tennis Games On Demand 80% 75%
Rayman Origins Games On Demand 67% 60%
Summer Stars 2012 Games On Demand 85% 75%
Winter Stars Games On Demand 85% 75%
Mini Ninjas Games On Demand 75% 67%
Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood Arcade 67% 60%
Guacamelee! STCE Arcade 60% 50%
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Arcade 60% 50%
Trials HD Arcade 50% 40%
Motocross Madness Arcade 50% 40%
Castle of Illusion Arcade 50% 40%
Freefall Racers Arcade 75% 67%
Let’s Sing and Dance Arcade 50% 40%
Geon Arcade 75% 67%
Rock Band 3 Games On Demand 50% 40%
The Crew Season Pass Add-On 30% 20%
Watch Dogs Season Pass Add-On 30% 20%
Far Cry 4 Season Pass Add-On 30% 20%
Alien Isolation Season Pass Add-On 50% 40%
Rabbids Invasion Season Pass Add-On 30% 25%
P4AU Navigation Set A Add-On 40% 33%
P4AU Navigation Set B Add-On 40% 33%
P4AU P4A Story Add-On 40% 33%
Forza 4 VIP Add-On 67% 60%
Rock Band 3 – Ozzy Osbourne 8-Pack Add-On 50% 40%
Rock Band 3 – Aerosmith Greatest Add-On 50% 40%
Rock Band 3 – The Black Keys Pack 02 Add-On 50% 40%
Rock Band 3 – Pretty Hate Pack 01 Add-On 50% 40%

Personally I think it’s pretty rad to have season passes on the cheap. It kinda makes sense, doesn’t it? Games depreciate in value but DLC rarely ever does. It’s nice to see the season passes at least, becoming a bit more affordable along with the games they’re linked to.

Let us know if you’ll be picking up anything in the sale this week, in the comments below.

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The EGMR Offensive Returns This Week, Here’s How You Can Contribute http://egmr.net/2015/04/egmr-offensive-returns-week-heres-can-contribute/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/egmr-offensive-returns-week-heres-can-contribute/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 09:00:52 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169336 He learned how to live his life a quarter mile at a time, but it doesn’t matter whether you offend by an inch or a mile, offending is offending. Also […]

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He learned how to live his life a quarter mile at a time, but it doesn’t matter whether you offend by an inch or a mile, offending is offending. Also how’s that CGI? Dude looks like a Ken doll.

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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Square Enix’s Failure Of 2013 Surpasses 8.5 Million Sales http://egmr.net/2015/04/square-enixs-failure-2013-surpasses-8-5-million-sales/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/square-enixs-failure-2013-surpasses-8-5-million-sales/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 08:00:17 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169344 Square Enix are a special bunch, truly. Not content with reinventing and creating successes of a bunch of rebooted titles from the Eidos range, including Hitman, Deus Ex, Dungeon Siege, […]

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Square Enix are a special bunch, truly.

Not content with reinventing and creating successes of a bunch of rebooted titles from the Eidos range, including Hitman, Deus Ex, Dungeon Siege, Thief and Sleeping Dogs (formerly True Crime), they expected overwhelmingly large amounts of sales from their games. So much so, in fact, that they considered 2013’s Tomb Raider to be a failure, despite having the biggest early launch of that year.

The biggest launch of early 2013, a failure in the eyes of its publisher.

Now two years later, Tomb Raider has been free on previous-gen consoles, and has released on new-gen in the form of its Definitive Edition, and it’s going quite well for the reboot.

Square Enix has now announced that the critically successful multiplatform title has just surpassed 8.5 million sales, effectively making it the best-selling Tomb Raider game in the long-running franchise. This includes all versions of the game, previous- and new-gen, and sends total sales for the series past the 40 million mark.

Forty million people thought Lara Croft wasn’t all that bad. Take that, Feminist Frequency.

“Tomb Raider ignited and expanded the fan base, pushing the series to a new level,” said head developer David Gallagher. “The game’s incredible sales success reflects the passionate response of players. Our studio is proud of what we accomplished with the game.”

Next up for Crystal Dynamics is the sequel to Tomb Raider, an Xbox One exclusive called Rise of the Tomb Raider. Thus far it’s been quite a controversial title, with PlayStation and PC players feeling quite hard done by, and betrayed by the makers of one of their most treasured game series. Whether it’s a timed exclusive or set in stone remains to be seen, but for now how about you let us know what you think of Square Enix’s apparent “failure” hitting that sales figure?

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: On April Fools, And Why It’s An Important Day http://egmr.net/2015/04/life-universe-gaming-april-fools-important-day/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/life-universe-gaming-april-fools-important-day/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 09:00:37 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169325 This week we’re going to take a break from my recent opinion columns about the so-called “gamer culture wars” and instead talk about something a little more topical, and time […]

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This week we’re going to take a break from my recent opinion columns about the so-called “gamer culture wars” and instead talk about something a little more topical, and time sensitive. Given that it’s a holiday, I’m also going to keep it short and sweet because really, I know that you all want to spend your day celebrating Easter Monday, or Family Day, or whatever it’s called in your neck of the woods. Also, it’s not a topic that requires too much thought. This will be ironic for reasons to come.

Yay for shower thoughts!

It’s actually quite coincidental, the way I thought up today’s topic, because while researching I actually found that it had already been presented on Reddit in /r/Showerthoughts/ so hey!

April Fools’ Day comes around but once per year. On that day, we prank each other, harmlessly, in the interest of shits and giggles, or, shiggles. That’s about it, and there’s really not much more to it. Actually it’s only half a day since tradition holds that April Fools jokes must end at 12pm, but of course we do live in a world with a multitude of timezones spanning an entire twenty-four hours, so for that twenty-four hour period of time it’s always April Fools’ Day somewhere.

This year on the internet, I noticed something unparalleled in previous years, and that’s a vast amount of people going onto the likes of Twitter and sullenly reminding everyone beforehand that April Fools’ Day was approaching, and no news was to be taken seriously. Heaven forbid anyone ever falls victim to a false report. The sheer, utter, unimaginable horror…

This was strange for me. Almost as if people were playing the role of social advocate, creating awareness of the falseness and misgivings of the day, refusing to get into the spirit of it and instead opting to be better than it; almost condescendingly so. I mean, who really forgot that April 1st means there are going to be some pranks going on? Nonetheless, it happened and it shocked me a bit. Perhaps everyone is still bitter about being pranked so hard last year? Either way, I couldn’t get why so many people were so adamant that April Fools’ Day was a day of being weary of everything (are we really so insecure?) rather than enjoying the fun and laughs of the day (even if it’s at our own expense) and just having a good time.

I for one love April Fools’ Day. It’s the one day a year when I can make ridiculously unbelievable articles such Nintendo confirming a Pokémon MMO and actually get away with it.

When I thought about how others were shying away from the day, actively hiding from the internet until it had all passed, as if the mere mention of an untrue story would bring a level of chaos and uncertainty into their lives that would unravel every carefully stitched seam that held their fragile lives together — *ahem* — it hit me.

April Fools’ Day is the one day a year when everybody looks at articles with the level of scepticism and critical thought that ought to be the daily standard in online news consumption.

Think about that for a second.

No, seriously, think about it.

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Imagine a game was announced and instead of immediately faffing over the graphics, the gameplay, and the representation of sexes, what if we instead thought about it in a more critical manner? What if we questioned whether those visuals were possible on current generation consoles, or whether that gameplay could translate into something enjoyable and fun, or even whether that woman was just included to tick a checkbox?

Critical thinking is important and there is woefully too little of that going on in this industry. The number of preorders for games that end up disappointing everyone should be enough of a compelling argument, or do I have to revive a long dead horse?

I really wish that more days were like April Fools’ Day because then instead of immediately getting excited and thrilled at the potential for fun a game might bring, we might instead look at a game like Evolve and think, “Well, this could work great but will the novelty wear out and will there always be five willing players, and what happens if two of those players are complete retards?” Or perhaps something like The Order: 1886, and think, “Well this looks great as an interactive movie, but how much of it can I actually play, and does that justify the asking price when I can get an interactive BluRay for much, much cheaper?” Or even looking at Bloodborne and thinking, “This is getting great reviews and I’m quite excited about that, but if I buy this game will I actually enjoy playing it myself or will I have to endure lots of frustration first, and do I want that in my life?”

Hell, I’d even caution critical thinking in the case of a game I am currently playing, Ori and the Blind Forest, by looking at it and thinking, “This game is very pretty, adorable, and charming, but it’s also quite challenging. What if I prefer my platformers to be fun, and without the challenge? What if I like a bit more meat in my gaming packages, and the minimalist approach doesn’t appeal to me?”

Critical thinking, as far as I’m concerned, should be taught in primary school. Developed as one of the fundamental lifeskills — along with managing money, another thing people are terrible at. You might think to yourself, “But Cavie, you egregious boot-licker, why are you so insistent on killing my fun?” To which I shall respond, well firstly I don’t lick boots, I eat them, and secondly, how many games do you regret buying? Likely not as many as you might initially think because we as humans love to find ostensible ways to justify our purchases so we feel better about our mistakes, but try to think about how many games you shudder at the thought of spending another ~R700 on, and then try to tell me you would have done it again if you had the chance.

If you had only thought a bit more critically, you would have been R700 better off ($60 for my international friends) and that’s not even counting the time investment.

And this applies to everything online, including the spreading of false stories — cough cough — as well as getting hyped for games, and of course, hyper-consumerism. Stop that. You have a brain.

Use it.

And if you’re one of the folks who already uses their brain, good on you. Good on you for thinking critically, and not immediately jumping to conclusions. Good on you for making informed purchases and educated decisions about the things you choose to consume. You live the better life, and I for one, admire you for it.

Here’s to more April Fools’ Day level critical thinking, because really this industry just needs it at this point.

Just for shiggles, here’s a list compiled by PC Gamer, of the April Fools’ Day pranks for 2015 in tech and gaming.

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Only CD Projekt Could Be This Cool About Issues Experienced Developing The Witcher 3 http://egmr.net/2015/04/cd-projekt-cool-issues-experienced-developing-witcher-3/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/cd-projekt-cool-issues-experienced-developing-witcher-3/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 10:00:20 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169283 Mostly because only CD Projekt are developing The Witcher 3… See the image above? What do you think is wrong with it? It looks pretty solid, right? What if we […]

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Mostly because only CD Projekt are developing The Witcher 3…

See the image above? What do you think is wrong with it? It looks pretty solid, right?

What if we told you, that monster’s nest is unoptimised, and currently sits at 52 million polgyons? Staggering, right?

This one’s for the budding game devs, and anyone else with an interest in tech, and specifically how putting a game together can go wrong. CD Projekt RED senior technical artist Martin Thorzén Truu — yes, he has Thor in his middle-name — detailed at a press conference, the kind of problems experienced by the developer in making The Witcher 3. Mostly, they’re issues with optimisation, but since it’s a massively important part of the games-making process, we thought they were worth sharing with you all.

Game dev folk are likely to throw a few knowing glances at these, but the rest of you can just pretend this was a Buzzfeed article where the title said that the third one is something you wouldn’t believe, and that actual insects really hate these in-game bugs. Or something like that.

 
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Check out this campfire. It caused unnecessary load because a large part of the polygons were sunk under the ground layer.

 
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Likewise as above for this ship. A large portion of the ship was being rendered, polygons et al, yet it was under the ground and therefore entirely unnecessary.

 
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See these rather simple objects? See that polygon count? That’s right, 1.5 million.

So how did they fix these issues? Well, they had to create a tool.

 
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What you see here is a data base viewer that CD Projekt implemented to help solve the problems. It identified problematic assets using a series of customisable parameters, then produced results such as the ones that follow.

 
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In this case, the tool helped CD Projekt to find areas with excessive vertex density (basically too many polygons)…

 
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…or excessive amounts of foliage.

 
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Here’s an image of a light source casting a range of 4km, basically a miniature sun. It caused massive lag in the game.

 
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The case of the missing bow. This archer’s tool just randomly popped up underground somewhere. Like so many dead bodies in Victorian England.

 
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Suddenly! Random test assets, just strewn across the in-game world somewhere. Had they not found it, it might have turned into a nifty but rather embarrassing Easter Egg.

In all, quite an interesting and insightful look into what goes on behind the scenes. We’re appreciate of The Witcher 3 devs for allowing us this little look into their process. This is the power of freedom, of a developer not bound by publisher dictations. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Get Marvel Mighty Heroes Free On Your Smartphone Right Now http://egmr.net/2015/04/get-marvel-mighty-heroes-free-smartphone-right-now/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/get-marvel-mighty-heroes-free-smartphone-right-now/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 09:00:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169280 You’ve heard of DeNA, right? They’re the guys who teamed up with Nintendo to make smartphone games with Nintendo IP. You’ve heard of Marvel, right? They’re the guys who made […]

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You’ve heard of DeNA, right? They’re the guys who teamed up with Nintendo to make smartphone games with Nintendo IP.

You’ve heard of Marvel, right? They’re the guys who made you fall in love with a talking tree and a cybernetic raccoon.

Well these two parties have now joined forces into one crazy combination, and they’ve released a free-to-play co-op game for your mobile.

Marvel Mighty Heroes is a free to play four player brawler where you can bring together your favourite characters, and then fight with others around the world. It allows players to choose between a select bunch of heroes and villains, and what’s cool is that it’s not limited by the movie license issues that plague Disney, Sony and Fox. On this mobile version, you can get any character or villain you’d like, as long as they’re present on the roster.

The game is fully compatible on smartphones, and you can get it both on Android and on Apple iOS right now.

Check out the trailer above and let us know what you think.

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Assassin’s Creed Gets A New Trilogy On New-Gen — Chronicles Downloading Soon http://egmr.net/2015/04/assassins-creed-gets-new-trilogy-new-gen-chronicles-downloading-soon/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/assassins-creed-gets-new-trilogy-new-gen-chronicles-downloading-soon/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 09:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169241 Okay we had our fun. Back to srsbsns now, or at least our version of it… After last year’s Assassin’s Creeds, Unity and Rogue were met with more than a […]

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Okay we had our fun. Back to srsbsns now, or at least our version of it…

After last year’s Assassin’s Creeds, Unity and Rogue were met with more than a little criticism, you could be forgiven for feeling quite exhausted with the Assassin’s Creed franchise right now. The game series that defined a generation of consoles has begun to feel as old and tired as the generation of consoles it defined. And that’s all good and well.

You could be forgiven then for sighing at the revelation (no pun intended) that the brotherhood (okay this was intended) of Ubisoft studios (gender-neutral, of course) is busy at work on yet another entry into this franchise. Actually not just one, but three. That’s right, a brand new trilogy of Assassin’s Creed titles. This time they’re downloadable titles, and will be three geographically specific parts of a series called Assassin’s Creed Chronicles.

Here’s what the press release had to say:

Developed by Climax Studios in collaboration with Ubisoft Montreal, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles brings the thrill of being a Master Assassin to 2.5D. Players will journey to three distinct civilizations and time periods throughout history including the Ming dynasty at the start of its downfall, the Sikh Empire as it prepares for war in India and the aftermath of the Red October revolution. Each chronicle stands on its own with a unique setting, art style, story and Assassin, but is tied together narratively.

Players will embody legendary Assassins, including Shao Jun from the animated short Assassin’s Creed Embers™, and Arbaaz Mir and Nikolaï Orelov from the Assassin’s Creed graphic novels. Slay from the shadows, master the art of parkour and take the leap of faith in a collection of stunning, living paintings. Each chronicle has its own artistic signature, from the beautiful brush paintings of China to the vibrant colors of India and the distinctive propaganda art style of Russia.

So a spinoff series then. That clears the way nicely for Ubisoft’s bigger triple-A release of Assassin’s Creed Victory at the end of this year.

The question is, is this a necessary spinoff series? Part of me, the part that is a bit Assassin-ed out right now, thinks not. It seems like an artificial way of extending a series’ exposure and just teasing and creating hype for the bigger releases.

But then there’s the other side of me that realises this is a much, much quicker way of getting through a lot of the bloat that is the Assassin’s Creed canon, and exploring the intricacies of that universe even more. For cheaper. And with less time wastage, hopefully. So actually, I think I’m all for it!

But let’s see if Climax Studios lives up to their name when the first game, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China, releases later this month. It’ll cost you $9.99 on either the PS4, Xbox One, or PC, whatever your poison. If you purchased the Assassin’s Creed Unity season pass you poor soul then you get it for absolutely free. Pending uPlay downloads, of course. Other games release later this year. Check out the trailer above and let us know in the comments below, what you think of this announcement. Totally not an April Fool’s joke either.

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Nintendo Confirms Pokémon MMO Coming This Year http://egmr.net/2015/04/nintendo-confirms-pokemon-mmo-coming-year/ http://egmr.net/2015/04/nintendo-confirms-pokemon-mmo-coming-year/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 07:00:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169232 We have to admit, we gave Nintendo far less credit than they deserve. We thought they were old fools, stuck in their ways and stubborn to embrace the future. We […]

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We have to admit, we gave Nintendo far less credit than they deserve. We thought they were old fools, stuck in their ways and stubborn to embrace the future. We thought their only idea of the internet was hearing that weird buzzing tone every time someone in the office sent a facsimile.

But they went ahead and proved us wrong, because finally, at long, long last, they went and outdid themselves. Gone are the days of Super Mario reboots. Gone are the days of Legend of Zelda games. Gone even are the days of games nobody actually realises was copies from elsewhere (sorry Skylanders). Because now we get the Half-Life 3 of Nintendo games. Now we get our Pokémon MMO.

The game was announced in the early hours of this morning and comes fresh off the heels of the announcement that Nintendo would be stepping up their online presence, creating a new social network for Nintendo fans called MiiBook, complete with a simple idea-sharing sister network called Miiter, and chat application called WiiChat. Not to be confused with that thing people use to listen to Cliff Central on Monday afternoons at 5pm.

The Pokémon MMO will be a Wii U exclusive, and feature all four hundred and sixty thousand known Pokémon as well as a few new ones including Xbot, PSfag, and GamerGator. It will also come in two very different versions, each with its own set of already unlocked Pokémon for you to find and catch, namely Pokémon 1080 and Pokémon 900. Nintendo meanwhile have denied that 900 will in any way be an inferior offering, reassuring gamers that the company is working at its hardest to ensure parity across all versions of the game.

With the release of the Pokémon MMO also comes the marking of another precedent for Nintendo, and that’s downloadable content. And no, not event-specific content like before — because really, who has the time and money to fly all the way to Japan for a Mew ticket any more? — but this time they’re doing on-disc DLC. Yup, that’s right, if you buy the Gotta Catch’em All editions of either game, you’ll get an additional fifty Pokémon unlocked for you at the very beginning of the game.

The game will be priced around the $999 mark, and have a monthly $99 subscription, because Nintendo feels if gamers want something bad enough then they can bloody well pay for it out of their own body parts if need be. There will also be an in-game store for purchasing Pokémon you don’t feel like catching but nonetheless need for your collection, as well as the regular sorts of PP UP, HP UP, and Escape Rope. There is no Repel for regular in-game currency players, instead available exclusively to real-money players.

Beginning in the Kanto region, the Pokémon MMO will feature all your favourite areas from the handheld games, including Nurse Joy’s Pokécenter, Route 7, the Safari Zone, and even that awful Hoenn region — I mean really, why did anyone even bother with that one…

Okay, so we’re just fucking with you. April Fool’s and all that. But seriously, if a Pokémon MMO is what you’re really interested in, then be sure to check out this awesome independent project, which is currently the closest you’ll get. Don’t say this article never did anything for you.

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Prepare For 200+ Hours Of The Witcher 3, And More In This Massive Details Blowout http://egmr.net/2015/03/prepare-200-hours-witcher-3-massive-details-blowout/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/prepare-200-hours-witcher-3-massive-details-blowout/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:00:47 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169170 At the beginning of this year, if you asked me what the one game I would buy for 2015 would be, and we went on the assumption that Mass Effect […]

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At the beginning of this year, if you asked me what the one game I would buy for 2015 would be, and we went on the assumption that Mass Effect 4 would not be releasing this year, I would say The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt without a moment’s hesitation. It’s coming, it’s eagerly anticipated, and today we’ve got a massive blowout of details for it. Hold onto your hats as senior game designer Damien Monnier answers a bunch of fan questions after taking to Twitter this past week.

Starting with author of The Witcher books, Andrzej Sapkowski:

Then, save importing:

On Dark Souls, and its influence on The Witcher 3’s combat system:

On the game’s story structure:

On DLC for the game:

On the dynamic AI in the game:

On camera options present in-game:

On armour sets available to Geralt throughout the story:

On Geralt’s hair… yes really:

On using signs while on horseback:

On using boats:

On censorship in international versions:

On Ciri, the new playable character:

On friendliness to newcomers to the series:

On Yennefer:

On the game’s duration:

On the dynamic weather system:

On alchemy:

On screenshot options:

On the use of the Aard sign:

On water:

On the PS4 version:

On differences between the versions:

On Cyberpunk 2077:

On plans for PS4 ports of the previous games:

On the Xbox One version:

On the new jumping ability:

On passive skills:

On RedKit, the modding tool from CD Projekt for The Witcher games:

On DirectX 12 support:

Quite a lot of details, hey? Special thanks to Dualshockers for compiling these tweets in three very handy articles, which we’ve condensed and grouped for your reading pleasure here.

Are you as excited for The Witcher 3 as we are? You better well be, because boy am I excited — and believe me, I don’t get excited for a lot of games recently. They’re all so… samey. Let us know in the comments if you’re going to be picking up The Witcher 3, or if there was an answer you had that the developer might have missed in his answers. We’d love to know what you think.

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PSA: No EGMR Offensive This Week So Here’s Something Else Instead http://egmr.net/2015/03/psa-no-egmr-offensive-week-heres-something-else-instead/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/psa-no-egmr-offensive-week-heres-something-else-instead/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:00:09 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169166 We’re really sorry about no podcast for a second week in a row. We understand that you’re missing your weekly dose of offence, but don’t worry, the EGMR Offensive will […]

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We’re really sorry about no podcast for a second week in a row. We understand that you’re missing your weekly dose of offence, but don’t worry, the EGMR Offensive will be back next week and in the meantime, here’s something (potentially) equally as offensive.

Here are some porno-themed reimaginings of games. Spoiler: Porno-themed reimaginings of games do exist; they’re just not as cool as these ones.

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Nvidia’s GeForce Titan X Finally Gets Local Pricing http://egmr.net/2015/03/nvidias-geforce-titan-x-finally-gets-local-pricing/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/nvidias-geforce-titan-x-finally-gets-local-pricing/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:00:44 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169161 Nvidia’s latest powerhouse graphics card has been expected for quite some time now. Its performance figures were in no doubt ever since they became public knowledge, but the biggest question […]

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Nvidia’s latest powerhouse graphics card has been expected for quite some time now.

Its performance figures were in no doubt ever since they became public knowledge, but the biggest question remained its price tag here in South Africa.

Now thanks to a quick check on Wootware during my lunch break today, the local pricing has been revealed, and it’s quite staggering, at nearly R17,000.

Even more staggeringly, that isn’t actually that bad if you think about it.

Remember that this is a card that was priced at the recommended $1350 in the US. A straight conversion would mean somewhere in the region is R16,000 anyway so thanks to our terribly weak Rand we get a very, very expensive graphics card. And for once, customs and import taxes aren’t to blame.

Now all of this said, let’s have a look at what a Titan X could buy us in South Africa:

  • 6 x Xbox 360s
  • 5 x PlayStation 3s
  • 2½ x Xbox Ones
  • 2½ x PlayStation 4s
  • 23 x brand new console games
  • 47 x brand new PC games
  • 1 billion x Steam Sale games
  • 5 x Geforce GTX960s
  • 3 x Radeon R9 290s
  • Half of SA’s police force
  • This website, probably

If you have enough money to afford the R16,679 price tag for the graphics card then may I have a loan? go get your Titan X right now, and let us know what kinds of crazy space travelling adventures you get up to with that machine of a graphics card.

I’ll just sit here and keep counting coins while I save up for my minor upgrade.

Let us know what you think of this graphics card’s price tag in the comments below, and if you dare to actually purchase one for yourself.

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Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious Is Standalone And Free (For Now) http://egmr.net/2015/03/forza-horizon-2-presents-fast-furious-standalone-free-now/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/forza-horizon-2-presents-fast-furious-standalone-free-now/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 07:00:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=169140 Do you know why we love the guys over at Playground Games? Because not only have they created some excellent racers in recent years but they are such cool people […]

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Do you know why we love the guys over at Playground Games? Because not only have they created some excellent racers in recent years but they are such cool people about giving gamers free content.

Naturally then, we would be remiss if we didn’t inform you all of the latest of their freely available downloads — for now at least — Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious.

Announced last month as a limited free offer, the downloadable content based on Forza Horizon 2‘s engine is entirely standalone, meaning you need not have bought the game to play the newly released content.

But you have to be… fast… about it… (sigh) because the offer only lasts for the next two weeks, reaching the finish line on April 10th, after which you’ll have to pay for it. Kind of like the petrol price in a way, but a lot less morbidly depressing.

Since I can’t think of any more car puns right now (because I’m both tired and exhausted), how about I just ask you guys to flash your beams at the videos above and below? They’re both trailers for the DLC, and will help give you the driving purpose to download the content and give it a go.

It’s free, what do you have to lose?!

Listen to Furious 7 Picture Car Coordinator Dennis McCarthy explain how the cars imagined in-game are “exact replicas” of the ones he built for the movie. Then try not to cry when you remember that Paul Walker is dead — sorry.

If you own an Xbox One and you don’t have Forza Horizon 2 then how simply dare you exist on this Earth. Seriously, give it a go. Or at the very least, try out this temporarily free DLC and let us know what you think. Or if you already have, how about sharing our experiences of it in the comments below?

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What Would You Like Us To Discuss On This Week’s EGMR Offensive? http://egmr.net/2015/03/like-us-discuss-weeks-egmr-offensive-6/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/like-us-discuss-weeks-egmr-offensive-6/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 09:00:26 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168918 The sun and the moon could both block each other out, and bring about a temporary darkness the likes of which the world has never seen– and it still wouldn’t […]

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The sun and the moon could both block each other out, and bring about a temporary darkness the likes of which the world has never seen– and it still wouldn’t be as dark as this podcast.

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: Is Gaming Really As Under-Represented As Claimed? http://egmr.net/2015/03/life-universe-gaming-gaming-really-represented-claimed/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/life-universe-gaming-gaming-really-represented-claimed/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 09:00:05 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168858 The topic of representation in gaming is one of the biggest and most contentious in recent times. By all rights, it shouldn’t be. What could be more simple than asking […]

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The topic of representation in gaming is one of the biggest and most contentious in recent times. By all rights, it shouldn’t be. What could be more simple than asking for more representation, after all? Throw in the odd powerful female character, or person of colour, maybe make someone homosexual or transgender. Easy enough, right? Well it should be, but the going belief is that it is anything but.

The going belief is that the gaming industry is stagnant, stubborn, resistant to change. Stuck in the old ways. Unwelcoming to a new era of gaming, where games are about more than mindless fun, and every player character should not be a middled-aged white male. The going belief is that this is all gaming has to offer, with very few badly done exceptions. The going belief is that there is an untapped market for games with better representation… the going belief, is wrong.

I’ve always found this point of discussion to be confusing. If gaming is consistently growing each year, then by that logic is gaming not already catering to its market? Why would a market not already being catered to, have any reason to grow? Nonetheless, as gaming permeates the mainstream, it must inherit the mainstream’s issues, and one of those is that of representation. Indeed in all media, representation is critiqued. Why are there so few non-white Academy Award winners? Why do so many series have only a token person of colour, or save stereotypical roles for females? Most recently, why are all the super-cool comic book movies so under-representative of women and people of colour? Where are the non-white-male superheroes? If I’m being completely honest, I think that gaming is miles ahead of other forms of media, but now I’m getting ahead of myself.

First let’s have a look at a Twitter conversation that was linked by someone I follow, who summarised the conversation with the following caption: “I don’t like it and it’s a problem.”

tpl0ANP

I guess your reaction to this conversation depends on who you are, but when did it become okay to say that a sexy character is wrong? Further, why is it wrong just because this person feels that it’s wrong? Is it objectively wrong? Is there a metric of some sort that proves it to be wrong? And why is this okay to say for a game character when the real-life equivalent would in fact be considered slut-shaming? After all, regardless of regularity of the trope, he is basically saying that a sexy character is “profoundly alienating” and “depressingly common” based on the images above.

For a long time the likes of Lara Croft have been criticised as sexually gratuitous, and catering to the male gaze, despite the fact that Lara’s large breasts were the result of a graphical glitch that made it into the final build. But let’s not even go that far; are there not women in the world who have breasts the size of Lara Croft’s? How do you think they feel every time someone says something like, “Boobs aren’t like that, IRL!”?

Why not both?

I won’t contest that there are a lot of games that put female characters in sexy clothing, but that’s like saying there are a lot of women in the real world who would go out wearing sexy clothing. There are, and they do. Likewise, as much as some games are unashamedly gratuitous about their displays of women, there are also places in the world that are as gratuitous if not more — just visit a nightclub. However there are also women who don’t go around in sexy clothing, just like there are games that do the same for women. In a way, gaming already mirrors real-life. And more especially, gaming caters to its market. If the market wants a particular thing, gaming will shift towards that thing.

Why? Because gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, and game developers and publishers are going to go where the market is. This is why you get a bit more representation with the indie developers; because most of the time they’re making what they want to, not what the market wants. Ultimately though, the market does dictate, and if sexy sells then sexy is what gets made. Does that mean there is no space for anything else? Of course not, after all there is certainly a hubbub about having more representation so a market must surely exist, it just means that there can be representation for both.

But what do the numbers say?

Here’s where it gets a little more interesting. We all know that nearly half of all gamers are women, right? Despite claims that gaming is a boy’s club, nearly half of all gamers are not in fact boys, so they must play something currently part of the gaming industry in order to qualify as gamers, yes? Here is an infographic sourced online which shows what percentage of women and men play particular games:

uYiSePG

So despite games such as Mass Effect, Final Fantasy and Resident Evil all having strong portrayals of female characters in their games, they are still played by a majority of men. Meanwhile, the games that have strong female player counts are SingStar, Candy Crush, and Animal Crossing. You can argue philosophy and politics all you’d like, but numbers are typically quite damning. And the interpretation of these numbers can go any way you’d like, they would still ultimately lead to the conclusion that a game with strongly 50/50 player bases of males and females, looks like this:

1 Cg9IiA31Xwd96qUXa_s2Rw

So what gives? Why are we being led to believe that there are so many discrepancies in gaming, and that there is a conglomerate of women who are eagerly awaiting their stories to be told, who are sick and tired of the way games are currently portrayed in the triple-A sphere, and just want something they can call their own? Despite this claim, why is it that Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure games have 80%-female player bases, whereas Mass Effect, a game lauded for its representation of all types of people, can only boast 14%? (If you’d like further reading, you can have a look here.)

Well the quickest and simplest response, quite honestly, is that you were told as much.

By this woman

By this woman

Anita Sarkeesian is the Vani Hari of gaming

If you don’t know who Vani Hari is, then you are a lucky person. Calling herself Food Babe, Vani Hari is a computer science graduate who turned her attention to GMOs, and uses pseudoscience to justify her assertions that GMOs are evil, and “Big Agro” is out to get us, spouting off such nonsense as consuming liquids causes problems for digestion of food, negative thoughts ruins microwaved food, and perhaps most incredibly, airlines deprive you of 100% oxygen and sometimes spray you with pesticides. Seriously.

In many ways, Anita Sarkeesian has done the same thing to videogames, albeit with cleverer execution. She has taken rudimentary forms of archaic feminist concepts not applicable to the gaming sphere, and then applied those concepts to the gaming sphere. The result is a mismatched, misrepresented idea of what the state of gaming is currently like, using out-of-context scenes and images to better convey her (or co-writer Jonathan McIntosh’s) points. Much like Food Babe, her many harsh critics have led to her garnering the support of millions who flocked to her defence, with even celebrities supporting her cause. The likes of Joss Whedon, Wil Wheaton, and Stephen Colbert for example.

But with Feminist Frequency, and the Tropes Vs Women in Video Games series, there is a lot of harm being done as well. Now I’m not going to stand on a self-righteous pedestal and claim that Feminist Frequency has made game developers hesitant to portray women in games for fear of criticism of their portrayals, because I believe that would be counter-balanced by the criticism of a developer who opts not to include women in games at all. But the problem comes in what we consider to be fair representation and what we don’t, and how many valid and viable options of fair representation are being overlooked and ignored in favour of the chosen narrative: That gaming is inherently sexist, and needs to change.

Now we could argue about whether or not gaming is actually sexist until we’re both blue in the face but let’s rather look at it like this: Society is sexist, and has been for a long, long time. This is changing. Slowly but surely, this is progressing towards equality. Of late, feminism has diversified into select sub-classifications, and the third-wave, radical feminists are those “fight the patriarchy!” folks who maintain the narrative that gaming is in fact a horrendously sexist place, devoid of equal representation and sorely lacking in any form of actual equality. Thing is… that’s not at all true if you only paid attention.

Gaming is more progressive than you might think

Have a look at the scrollable image above (zoom in if your browser doesn’t do it for you, or alternatively click here) and you will see a list of LGBT characters found in gaming, currently. Note also that this list extends well into the early days of gaming, with both strong female and LGBT characters present since gaming’s inception. But you’ll never hear about that if you aren’t careful to do your own research, rather than taking at face value, what the likes of Anita are saying about gaming.

Gaming has always been representative; you just haven’t been shown the right games to prove it.

Throughout her criticisms of current gaming, and calling for better representation of women in games, I’ve always wondered why Anita Sarkeesian left out the likes of Ellie from Borderlands 2 as working examples of doing it right. Then again, this is the same Anita Sarkeesian that believes women who aren’t the right type of feminist are doing all other women a disservice. I find that astounding, but I digress from that point. Anita Sarkeesian has laid out eight basic principles for making gaming better for women (a fair request, by all accounts) as follows:

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

But what does it mean? What if you had two sexy characters who were strong, without over-emphasised parts, and one of them was of colour? Who reacted realistically to harm, and presented believable portrayals of women?

Or, this

Or, this

This isn’t the only example, either. Developer Stardock presented another example of applying Anita’s eight rules, and you never heard about that one either. I wonder why?

Meanwhile, the Feminist Frequency website lists the likes of Gone Home, Mirror’s Edge, Portal, and Beyond Good & Evil in its list of recommended games. But no love for Gears of War? And none for Borderlands 2? Tomb Raider meanwhile, remains one of the biggest targets of contention, where Lara Croft is still the target of criticism because the likes of Anita consider her latest game to be torture porn.

My question then, is: You want a strong female character, but you don’t want her exposed to violence? But you want her to do what male characters do, which is commit and receive violence, in a game that is based around violence. Meanwhile, the likes of Bayonetta, despite being written by a female developer, and despite being a strong and empowered woman with her own agency and motivations, is considered a shameless example of catering to the male gaze. You know what I call that? Strawmanning.

But don’t confuse this with a hit piece, because I don’t mean to attack Anita Sarkeesian. I together with many, many, many, many others fully support her right to critique; I just don’t believe that she is not above critique, herself. And perhaps this is the biggest issue of late, because the two facets of sexism in society and sexism in gaming are becoming muddled together, such that many jump to Anita’s defence, not because of her critiques being sound, but because they identify with that overt sexism Anita experiences, which is truly awful.

No, I am not concerned with whether Anita Sarkeesian is a gamer or not, because honestly, I don’t mind someone who isn’t a gamer critiquing games from an outsider’s perspective, so more power to her if she isn’t. I’m not concerned with disproving her, or making a point of the fact that she was a telemarketer before she was a games critic. If she wants to make her money from critiquing videogames, then I’ll say again, more power to her. But the problem that comes with this is that when you jump to someone’s defence for one reason (harassment), you inadvertently disregard the folks who are criticising (read: not attacking) her for another reason (her critiques). That is to say, you ignore the other critics, a lot of whom, are women.

There are alternatives

My focus on Feminist Frequency is because they are by far and away leading the charge in the discussion of representation in gaming, but it really isn’t the only voice on the internet discussing the topic right now, regardless of what the internet is trying to tell you. The truth is, there are some arguably better, definitely more well-researched women on the internet discussing gaming all the time. And they didn’t require a hundred-thousand-dollar Kickstarter that nevertheless used artwork and game footage without permission, and was accused of outright dishonesty in the process. Here are a few of them:

Liana Kerzner‘s five-part discussion on representation in gaming, and why Feminist Frequency is doing it wrong: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Quite possibly the most important of the links I have to share, and one of the most powerful reads I’ve had in a while, Liana Kerzner used actual research and citable sources to convey her thoughts on the state of gaming today, and I take every opportunity to promote this series of articles as the best alternative to Feminist Frequency. And the best part is, she didn’t need $100,000 to do this.

Angela Night‘s ongoing blog about feminism and gaming, entitled Thoughts of a Feminist Gamer. Where she regularly discusses things from a slightly less myopic viewpoint, identifying aspects of sexism in games that are not inherently sexist, and attempting to diversify and discuss areas that radical feminists immediately dismiss. She’s been known to take on the odd feminist as well, which I feel is important to ensure that logic prevails. Nothing should be above critique, after all.

Elise Favis‘s opinion pieces on Game Informer, most recently We Need More Female Leads In Narrative Games, which delightfully explain what games currently do right, and what they do wrong, so we can effectively identify what can be improved upon for future. No outlandish claims, nothing out of context, just easy and simple words and thoughts.

Liz Finnegan is a new recruit over on The Escapist who’s been doing a series of articles entitled Pixels and Bits, in which she explores the tenets and traditions of games, while providing entertaining commentary and thought throughout.

Finally, not actually a woman but a developer for The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and former co-owner of People Can Fly, is Adrian Chmielarz, who wrote the article that inspired a lot of this piece today. It’s called Woman and Video Games, and it takes a very interesting look at the market side of things, straying away from conjecture, pseudoscience, and hearsay, and presenting actual research, and many, many citations. Like any good critique should.

Despite the narrative offered to you, the truth is that there is a lot more than initially meets the eye, you need only look for it. Start with Wikipedia, if you absolutely must. Read about gender representation, and LGBT themes in videogames, and go from there. Because it really isn’t as bad as they say it is. Is it where we need it to be? No. Gaming could definitely use some work. But the day we allow critique to be above critique, is the day we forgo critical thought and succumb to 1984-styled truthspeak.

Let’s go away from gaming now…

Then there’s the other side of things. The claim that “women in tech” are being oppressed, that there are very few in the gaming industry, and that they’re having a really hard time about it. Hmm…

Wrong again.

Don’t mistake me, there should definitely be a lot more women in games, but I grew up idolising Jade Raymond when she was a lead developer at Ubisoft, and the likes of Rhianna Pratchett and Amy Hennig have taught me that there are strong, inspirational women in this industry, who can be role models to many. In fact, they have been. A massive reason for why I am a writer today is because of another South African writer, also female.

It really isn’t nearly as bad as has been claimed, and I’m afraid the narrative that gaming is sexist, and that harassment is all that you can expect from joining this industry is only going to push more and more women away from the industry. It’s counter-productive, above being false. Again don’t mistake me, harassment is a massive problem on the internet, and gaming happens to overlap with the internet in a big way, so harassment is also a part of gaming, but it is not the be-all-and-end-all of gaming, and certainly not a “women-only” issue — not to undermine the problem of harassment of women online at all, I must stress that much.

All I’m asking here is that we stop believing the doom cries and fear-mongering of people who are doing their best to promote themselves while portraying a false image of the games industry as it currently is.

See my previous column for examples of such.

What they probably don’t tell you

Meanwhile, the likes of Paradox Interactive, with their female CEO and lead designer, are breaking sales records and getting rave reviews with Cities: Skylines, and not a threat nor complaint of harassment in sight. It’s almost as if the narrative you’ve been told is… false?

I’ve held for a long time that the loudest and most critical voices in gaming right now, regarding the representation of women in gaming, are those who stand to gain monetarily from it. They will make base proclamations and statements without a shred of evidence or citation, mostly just opinion or pseudoscience, and then ask you to support their Patreon or Kickstarter. The likes of Brianna Wu have been singing songs about how difficult women in gaming have it, while turning around and asking for money. I think it’s time we began to separate the loudmouths from the actual critics.

The ones who are willing to engage. The ones who are not above criticisms. The ones who don’t hide behind block bots, or ignore anyone with a question of critique. The ones who don’t block and shout “harassment” the moment someone disagrees with them. The ones who are capable of identifying what is and is not criticism. The ones who, for lack of a better word, are civil. Capable of having a discussion. Not above it all. Those are the folks we should be aspiring to champion, not the Anita Sarkeesians of the world who really couldn’t give a damn about you or your defence of her right to critique.

My intention with this column is not to much to paint the picture that gaming is a field of sunflowers and daisies, but rather that it’s not all doom and gloom, as has previously been presented — and really, I find it quite telling that the loudest voices are not actually long-standing contributors to games development but rather media, and indie developers. My intention then, is to show you that side that you’ve perhaps not yet seen. And if I get to poke at the people who’ve been painting that image, then all the better for it. I never claimed to be above it all.

I think it’s time we stopped hiding behind the façade of an unfriendly and unwelcoming games industry. We already have the representation present. We just need more of it, and scaring everybody off helps nobody. Let’s band together and report the trolls, condemn the harassers, and promote the folks who promote gaming through sound research and sourced references. Because really, it’s only as bad as you believe it is. And ultimately, it’s what you put in that you get out.

Feel free to disagree with me in the comments below.

Addendum: You know, if the conversation shifted to racial representation, I would be fully behind that, because as much as I see strong female characters, and a wide array of LGBT characters, I’m not nearly as overwhelmed by people of colour, either in the games I play, or playing the games I play. Racism, as far as my personal experiences go, is a much larger issue on the internet, not to undermine sexism at all. But let’s be fair about it here, a lot of the loudest voices in all of these discussions have been white. I’d like a bit more brown in my conversations please.

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The EGMR Offensive #6: The Killing Joke http://egmr.net/2015/03/egmr-offensive-6-killing-joke/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/egmr-offensive-6-killing-joke/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:00:17 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168732 Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive. This week’s podcast is a rather more political affair, discussing the array of Twitter campaigns that went […]

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Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive.

This week’s podcast is a rather more political affair, discussing the array of Twitter campaigns that went around the internets this past week. But don’t worry, we’ve also saved some salt for disgruntled gamers who are not happy with the length of Bloodborne, at a paltry 40 hours. Oh and have you seen Titanfall’s sequel? All this and more, right here on your favourite gaming podcast featuring offensive brown people.

Here are the topics discussed during this week’s episode:

  • Have you seen Titanfall 2?!
  • Evolve’s growing pains
  • The origin of #LetDevsSpeak
  • Don’t forget #ChangeTheCover
  • 40 hours of Bloodborne is apparently not enough
  • Questions

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Nintendo Wants To Make Games For Smartphones http://egmr.net/2015/03/nintendo-wants-make-games-smartphones/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/nintendo-wants-make-games-smartphones/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 11:00:23 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168708 If you’re one of those folks who use emulators on their Android or Apple device to play games like Pokémon, Super Mario, and Legend of Zelda, then you’re either going […]

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If you’re one of those folks who use emulators on their Android or Apple device to play games like Pokémon, Super Mario, and Legend of Zelda, then you’re either going to love this news, or be indifferent to this news because you already get your fill.

Either way, it delights us to inform you guys that Nintendo will be working with a Japanese mobile games publisher called DeNA to create new games for smartphones, all based on their various IP.

According to Nintendo, all existing IP is included in the deal, and the partnership will see both companies exploring all possibilities in the creation of new original titles based on these IP. To emphasise: Existing IP will not be ported over, but original content will be created instead.

You’re welcome to take this as you please; after all, it could still just be remakes.

“Both companies will develop and operate new game apps based on Nintendo’s IP, including its iconic game characters, for smart devices,” reads a statement from Nintendo. “To ensure the quality of game experience that consumers expect from this alliance of Nintendo and DeNA, only new original games optimised for smart device functionality will be created, rather than porting games created specifically for the Wii U home console or the Nintendo 3DS portable system.”

The two companies will also be working on a membership service across all three devices, likely similar to Xbox LIVE Gold, and PlayStation Plus.

For a very long time, we’ve held the criticism of Nintendo that they’re just really old people who don’t understand how the industry has progressed, opting instead to simply rest on making “toys” for kids rather than getting with the times. This is why the greatest MMO to ever exist has not yet been created, despite Splatoon being the most exciting thing to have been announced in recent years.

To their credit, Nintendo has also made some great moves of late, with the likes of Bayonetta 2 releasing on Wii U and effectively reinvigorating a dead console in many regions. Here in South Africa, the console now has market demand again, even after a few local retailers cleared stock a few years ago, letting the consoles go for a fifth of the price. Those lucky folk who bought it back then are probably chuffed with themselves now.

What do you think of Nintendo’s shift towards mobile? Will it be more free-to-play bullshit from a beloved maker of games, or will it be something new and different that only Nintendo could realistically have pulled off? Let us know in the comments below.

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What Would You Like Us To Discuss On This Week’s EGMR Offensive? http://egmr.net/2015/03/like-us-discuss-weeks-egmr-offensive-5/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/like-us-discuss-weeks-egmr-offensive-5/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 09:00:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168693 Perhaps the reason for the Film & Publication Board’s new draft is to put a decisive and immediate end to all things EGMR? We can’t say for certain, but we […]

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Perhaps the reason for the Film & Publication Board’s new draft is to put a decisive and immediate end to all things EGMR? We can’t say for certain, but we can say that it seems likely. Also: Hands off our internet.

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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But Have You Seen Titanfall’s DLC? It’s Free Forever http://egmr.net/2015/03/seen-titanfalls-dlc-free-forever/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/seen-titanfalls-dlc-free-forever/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:00:55 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168594 When Titanfall released last year, a lot of people bought it and enjoyed it. Those people likely weren’t South African, because the game’s release was cancelled for South Africa following […]

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When Titanfall released last year, a lot of people bought it and enjoyed it.

Those people likely weren’t South African, because the game’s release was cancelled for South Africa following some rather contentious CPA violation allegations levelled against publishers Electronic Arts, and developers Respawn Entertainment. Titanfall’s reliance on Microsoft’s Azure cloud servers ended up harming the game’s viability here in South Africa, and the decision was taken to cancel release.

Not that that stopped anyone.

Thing is, you can actually quite easily procure Titanfall for your PC, Xbox One or Xbox 360, just by going digital. Or you could even import, if you’re daring enough to risk dealing with our country’s Customs department.

Lots of South Africans have had a chance to get their Titanfall on, and while the game was initially hyped to shit, and continues to be regarded as “overhyped” the actuality is that lots of people are actually still thoroughly enjoying the game, and its frantic mech-infused action. And if you’re one of those folks then you’re in some luck depending on whether or not you purchased the season pass.

See, Respawn Entertainment recently priced all DLC and the season pass for Titanfall as free, which led to the obvious question being asked:

And so it was that current and future players of Titanfall will be able to get all DLC and the season pass for entirely free. Pretty neat, right?

This follows the announcement that Titanfall 2 is coming, and will be multiplatform, with a PlayStation 4 version planned. On Titanfall 2, Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella said that the studio would be considering a more Evolve-like model. Evolve offers players free maps, but charges for optional characters and weapon skins.

So does that mean Titanfall might actually be worth picking up now? I guess I’ll leave that up to you to decide but I certainly think there has never been a better time to see Titanfall. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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The EGMR Offensive #5: PC Beats All http://egmr.net/2015/03/egmr-offensive-5-pc-beats/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/egmr-offensive-5-pc-beats/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 09:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168465 Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive. We’re back in the gaming swing of things this week, with a decidedly more platform-focussed podcast, discussing […]

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Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive.

We’re back in the gaming swing of things this week, with a decidedly more platform-focussed podcast, discussing the likes of Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC gaming, including functionality, performance, and multiplayer. We also delve into returning greats, and a whole lot more. We hope you enjoy the show. Please share your thoughts with us in the comments once you’re done giving it a listen. We really appreciate the feedback.

Here are the topics discussed during this week’s episode:

  • Marvel is skipping Comic-Con
  • Rock Band 4 is bringing back rhythm
  • Xbox One’s March Update looks pretty sweet
  • People are angry about Xbox LIVE being free on PC
  • Hotline Miami 2 review scores

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What Would You Like Us To Discuss On This Week’s EGMR Offensive? http://egmr.net/2015/03/like-us-discuss-weeks-egmr-offensive-4/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/like-us-discuss-weeks-egmr-offensive-4/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 09:00:06 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168358 Known as much by his acting name as he was by his real name, EGMR salutes the passing of one of the greats; Leonard Nemoy, also known as Spock, the […]

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Known as much by his acting name as he was by his real name, EGMR salutes the passing of one of the greats; Leonard Nemoy, also known as Spock, the logic-fuelled Vulcan from Star Trek who taught us to Live Long and Prosper. Unlike everyone’s favourite podcast, which forgoes all logic and teaches us to live erratically and fail miserably.

Previously on the eGamer Podcast we would ask you guys for questions each episode, and during the recording we would attempt to answer them. With our new podcast, the EGMR Offensive, we want to try something slightly different.

We want you to suggest topics for us to discuss. Because it’s a much more topic-based podcast, we’ll be discussing a few of the biggest news stories for the past week or two. So we thought, why not just ask you guys and see what you’d like to hear us talk about? This article is your opportunity to do just that.

If you would just like to ask us questions as usual, then by all means do so. However if you have some hot topic you’d like us to dig our teeth into, then by all means do that too. Either way, the comments section is your friend. Go wild.

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Life, The Universe And Gaming: On #GamerGate, Feminism, Ethics, Harassment, And Working Together http://egmr.net/2015/03/life-universe-gaming-gamergate-feminism-ethics-harassment-working-together/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/life-universe-gaming-gamergate-feminism-ethics-harassment-working-together/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 09:00:03 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168156 Alternative title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide To #GamerGate Let’s begin by clearly declaring our outliers here: Today’s column is not meant to take a side, either for or against the hashtag […]

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Alternative title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide To #GamerGate

Let’s begin by clearly declaring our outliers here: Today’s column is not meant to take a side, either for or against the hashtag collective that is #GamerGate. Now since this is an opinion column, I shall share my own standpoint shortly. But first let’s establish who this article is for.

A lot of people ask me, “Cavie, you beautiful creature, what is this #GamerGate thing all about, and why does it have so many people so angry?” To which I typically respond, “Well, most noble and scholarly friend, #GamerGate is a whole mess of things depending on who you are, and you should most certainly stay out of it. But if you really must know…” See the thing is, there are a lot of people who think that #GamerGate is this or that, typically based on what people close to them have portrayed it as, or what they have personally been exposed to. These could be very different things as you can expect. Here’s the thing though: There are a lot of other people who claim indifference, who are simply not willing to have the conversation, but nonetheless condemn as if they know what they’re talking about — watch these people run to the comments without reading past the titles. I personally detest that level of ignorance, and I want to firmly establish a common ground upon which we can all tread. One established mostly on verifiable facts, sound reporting, and other content that I feel deserves to be shared (note: not necessarily fact, but worth sharing). It is therefore up to you to decide whether or not you feel this is fair and equal representation, or a biased perspective.

If you’d like my personal opinion of #GamerGate, then you’re going to have to read through all of this — or do the lazy thing and scroll to the end.

Throughout this column, I am going to do my best to address both sides of the argument, with the hope being to allow for as much fair coverage as is humanly possible. Please work with me on this, it’s quite difficult to be 100% objective, but I will give it my best shot.

 

So what exactly is #GamerGate?

The pro-#GamerGate side would have you believe that #GamerGate is a consumer revolt intended to fight corruption in the games industry by bringing writers and websites to task for unethical and questionable practices. The anti-#GamerGate side would have you believe that it is a hate campaign of harassment which is a product of internet misogyny and exists as a form of resistance to change in gamer culture. These are two very loaded sides, and I believe that each has an element of truth to them. If I look at the pro-#GamerGate side, I can quite easily see that yes, there are unethical practices in the games industry, but if I look at the anti-#GamerGate side, I do wonder why it’s mostly women who are being brought to task for this (addendum: based on public perception and most readily available examples).

We must then also consider the point from which all of this madness spawned, and that’s a tweet by Adam Baldwin with the hashtag #GamerGate, in which he linked to two videos that covered The Quinnspiracy Saga from August last year. The pro-#GamerGate side would insist that the Quinnspiracy is a forgotten episode, and that the focus has since shifted towards ethics in games journalism, while the anti-#GamerGate side would argue that anything born of harassment is still, in effect, a form of harassment, and therefore #GamerGate cannot ever be considered anything more than a hate campaign as a result. The question is, is that a fair assessment? After all, are all Muslims condemned for the acts of Islamic extremists? Were non-white Apartheid freedom fighters condemned for their acts of rape and terrorism? And what about all the harassment that has been going on for years before this? Perhaps let’s break it down a bit…

 

Let’s talk about harassment on the internet

Hi, my name is Caveshen Rajman, I am a twenty-something, straight ethnic male who has been a victim of internet harassment. I have received death threats for not liking a game (Halo 3) that others liked, I have been asked to kill myself, and been accused of being a sad, lonely virgin for many years of my life, just for expressing an opinion on the internet. I was told, in no uncertain terms, to go and fuck (or kill) myself whenever I tried to communicate on internet forums (some local), I was even investigated, and had personal family details revealed, by a man who claimed to be a police inspector, who took issue with my advocating the downloading of TV series from the internet. Most recently, I expressed a dislikeable opinion about a game called Destiny, and had my Xbox LIVE, Gmail, and Twitter hacked (they had different passwords) by angry internet users who didn’t like what I had to say about the game. This is over and above being very publicly lambasted by other websites, users, and even some of my own team members at the time.

Because of the anonymity of the internet, you are quite prone to being harassed. This is just how it has been online, and nobody feels that more, than women. That’s not to say that men don’t feel it too, but really, a woman with a strong opinion on the internet is the target of just the worst kinds of harassment and discrimination. We’ll discuss the very necessary conversation of feminism in a moment, but let’s first get one thing abundantly clear: Women on the internet have a really fucking tough time. That’s not me “white knighting” as they say, because honestly I also feel that a lot of women prey off this idea and throw themselves directly into the line of fire unnecessarily, and receive abuse, effectively for themselves being abusers. These are however outliers, and many women simply do not ask for abuse, but nonetheless receive it. Either in the form of threats, disingenuous disagreement based purely on gender, scepticism, and of course, sexual harassment. And in the wake of #GamerGate (had to), the anti-#GamerGate side has argued once again that harassment and hate has been a core element of #GamerGate. Let’s have a look at that in the form of tweets I found online:

Threats from #GamerGate
GGthreats1

GGthreats2

GGthreats3
Threats from Anti-#GamerGate
AntiGGthreats1

AntiGGthreats2

AntiGGthreats3

AntiGGthreats4

AntiGGthreats5

AntiGGthreats6

AntiGGthreats7

AntiGGthreats8
Men who were threatened
Menthreats1

Menthreats2

So you see, nobody is really innocent here, and everyone is a victim in some way. That’s not to undermine the very real and dangerous threat to Zoe Quinn’s life last year during the Quinnspiracy, something that I wholly condemned back then, and still do now. What happened, and continues to happen, is borderline barbaric and uncalled for. My only intention here is to establish three things:

  1. Internet harassment has been on the internet for as long as I can remember, and is going nowhere any time soon.
  2. Neither side is innocent, or not guilty of themselves being harassers, as has been demonstrated.
  3. The focus is abundantly on females, whether it’s the argument that only females are guilty of corruption, the bewildering number of female harassment cases I’ve seen online, or the disregarding of males who are also being harassed, albeit admittedly not nearly as much as females are.

So to summarise: Women get harassed, whether they are pro- or anti-#GamerGate, yet #GamerGate appears to be universally condemned for it, even by people outside of the gaming industry. In much the same way that Grand Theft Auto once made all of us killers.

Now let’s talk about the other half of the harassment…

 

Feminism in modern culture

I am no expert on feminism, and I make no claims to being otherwise. In the past, I have written articles in support of women and representation in gaming quite a bit, but of late I found myself slightly more critical. Why? Because for the first time I actually engaged it, and I discovered that there is such a thing, as with anything, as the ‘wrong kind’ of feminist.

B1OOcoECMAAyKkq

Now that’s not to say I follow the sentiment that feminism is killing gaming. No, of course not. I find that sentiment to be frankly absurd. I do however see that based on who you are, one feminist is the “right kind” and the other is the “attention seeking” kind, with very few exceptions in between, and this is constant across all sides. This, friends, is more of an argument in semantics, much in the same way actual feminism is. Feminism has permeated gaming and is here to stay, and so along with that must come the copious amounts of discussion surrounding feminism. After all, where do we draw the line between empowerment, and reverse discrimination? Personally, I am pro-equality, and that means equal rights for all. To see some women spoken down upon for not being the same kind of feminist as another is, quite honestly, incredible to behold.

On the anti-#GamerGate side are feminists the likes of Leigh Alexander and Anita Sarkeesian, while on the pro-#GamerGate side are feminists the likes of Liana Kerzner and Christina Sommers. The latter two have, thus far, employed the use of research and academic references to explain their standpoints. The former have dealt more with opinion and personal research. Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency videos in particular have become above reproach to many who feel that critique is necessary in gaming, but do not allow that critique to, itself be critiqued, something that nonetheless deserves its own voice.

And when all of this is said and done, where is the other representation? We always hear of representation for the LGBT community, and of course people of colour, but how are they being represented. On the #GamerGate side, you have #NotYourShield, a subsection of #GamerGate formed from women, LGBT members, and people of colour who stand with #GamerGate against what they perceive to be another attack on them from privileged white people who want to speak on their behalf. Or, this video:

On the anti-#GamerGate side, during my research I found very little to indicate that it was about anything other than stopping the harassment of women on the internet, which as I’ve said, does happen and is not something that can be easily dismissed, nor should it be. From my own research, I have struggled to find many people of colour, or LGBT community members who have argued against #GamerGate, and the best it’s come to has been a few ethnic members who are unwilling to concede that #GamerGate is comprised of anything other than privileged white males, and their indoctrinated, sexism-internalising allies. It was quite telling to see the frequency of non-white gamers who flocked behind #GamerGate however:

Which then brings me to my next point, one that does indeed reflect the opinion of Leigh Alexander in her article entitled ‘Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Gamers’ are over. albeit in a very circular fashion, and without the assumption that all of this is happening due to resistance to change in the current way of things. I believe that as gaming matures and permeates the mainstream, it will gain the discussion points of the mainstream. The likes of equal representation and ethical treatment, as well as corruption and questionable behaviour. Equal representation of women, for example, is a broad and diverse issue across all subcultures of humanity, not just gaming, and not just entertainment. Last year’s Fappening for example, had nothing to do with gaming. To go further into our daily living, women are forced to either take the surnames of their fathers or their husbands when married. In many situations women are paid less, just by virtue of being women.

To cut a long story short, gaming has inherited the contentious issues of our modern world, and therefore #GamerGate is the first real hot debate to have come from that. In other words…

 

It’s all political

You might have seen words like “SJW” and “MRA” used a lot on the internet recently. Social, justice and warrior, are all seemingly okay words, right? What about men’s, rights, and activists? So why then are both these terms used negatively, and in direct opposition to each other in gaming?

Throughout my research on this piece, I found that many pro- and anti-#GamerGate discussions occurred around other terms such as anarchist, left-wing, libertarian, and so on. These are political terms, and I believe #GamerGate to be the first political war in gaming. This has a few very big connotations, as follows:

  1. Humanity is accustomed to fighting revolutions for change. If there is change, there is typically some destructive element that happens to bring about that change. In the absence of real wars and conflict, we have turned on ourselves and our way of life, and as a result, fundamentally split ourselves into factions based on beliefs and opinions. This is abundantly apparent with the #GamerGate saga.
  2. The #GamerGate sides have become their own entities now. In other words, if you are anti-#GamerGate and one day start espousing pro-#GamerGate views, or vice versa, your respective side will take you to task for it, and your own followers and friends will turn on you, call you a hypocrite, and metaphorically burn you at the stake. Why? Because most members on the two sides are no longer bothered with having an actual discussion but are rather obsessed with firmly establishing that one side is completely right, while the other is completely wrong. Expectedly problematic.
  3. Despite what anyone says to the contrary, neither side is going to go anywhere any time soon. This is a direct result of the above-mentioned idea that both sides are now entities on their own.
  4. There will always be propaganda, because each side wants to win more supporters to its own cause. Therefore you will see misrepresented or falsified sentiments, and will be goaded into throwing your support to one or the other side, and if you should choose to remain neutral, you will be the target of both sides should you ever choose to involve yourself — either you will be a coward who is condoning harassment, or a coward who is unwilling to fight the corruption.

The entire thing got so political that it even found its way onto the David Pakman show over on YouTube, in which David Pakman interviewed four people, two pro-#GamerGate, two anti-#GamerGate, and eventually rendered his final verdict. Here are the rather lengthy videos if you’re interested in them. I strongly encourage watching them as they provide some excellent examples of the mentalities, personalities, and overall views of each party.
Brianna Wu

Total Biscuit

Arthur Chu

Liana Kerzner

David Pakman’s Final Verdict on #GamerGate

An unsurprising albeit unfortunately fair resolution to the entire thing, all agreed?

 

Now let’s talk about ethics

Ethical practices on the internet have always seemed like something of an oxymoron to me. After all, it’s the internet. There is so much possibility for misrepresentation and dishonesty through anonymity that how can we ever take anything at face value without questioning its integrity. Related to #GamerGate, how many examples of harassment above were from people who claimed they were part of #GamerGate, on either side, and how many were just internet trolls? And how many claims of harassment were categorically false? It’s really, really difficult to tell for certain.

Now that might sound like a harsh thing to say, but consider that if police reports were filed, then the police would have encouraged the involved parties not to speak publicly after filing a statement. If those parties then went public anyway, who’s to say it wasn’t for personal attention? The “crying wolf” accusation is constantly disregarded in favour of the sanctity of the victim, and this would need to change or more people will falsely accuse others and get away with it. Is it fair to call for evidence of claims made? It ought to be. The burden of proof should always lie with the accuser, should it not? Unfortunately it’s a tricky situation because you then undermine the real victims, and we never, ever want to stoop to that level. It’s quite tough in the end.

We must now come to the topic of “ethics in games journalism” which is something that the pro-#GamerGate side claims to fight for, to the point of being made fun of by others. Ethics in games journalism has been a point of contention for a while now, albeit never to this extent. It has certainly been growing, and has come a long way from the time when Doritosgate happened, and the internet piled on Geoff Keighley. From then on, the discussion of what constitutes actual games journalism and what is simply glorified blogging has been raging, hitting its high point late last year when a bunch of websites were brought to task for what gamers considered to be unethical practices.

But here’s the thing… you cannot fight the media. The power of the media is strong, and what first started out as silence eventually morphed into attacks on #GamerGate, despite the best efforts of those involved. Some gaming sites did their part to portray an equal amount of exposure for both sides — we did our part to represent the pro-#GamerGate and anti-#GamerGate sides as well — but for the most part if you see an article on #GamerGate on a popular gaming site, it will be labelled from the anti-#GamerGate perspective, i.e. a hate campaign that focuses on harassing women.

If you consider that #GamerGate is effectively taking the very same gaming websites, as well as game developers, to task, it kind of makes sense doesn’t it?

 

The blatant immaturity of it all…

The one question I’ve asked myself about all of this is, if the common argument across both sides of this saga is that gaming is not something to be taken so seriously, then why are the issues of representation and ethical practice such massively contentious topics?

The #GamerGate side will jump on anything that even slightly supports their claim, condemning or outright dismissing counter-arguments and jumping on rather shaky, questionable-at-best examples of evidence. If WikiLeaks taught us anything, it’s that if there is evidence of unfair practices then the truth will out. So why then is there not more evidence being presented each day, or is the focus simply not on that evidence but rather focusing too much on proving that it’s not actually about the harassment of women?

Meanwhile, the anti-#GamerGate side isn’t even willing to have a conversation, steadfast in the assertion that if you even so much as humour the #GamerGate side then you are implicitly condoning sexism, harassment and discrimination. But what about all the women, LGBT members, and people of colour who are also on the side of #GamerGate? Do they all have internalised sexism as is claimed, or is there actually more to the story?

If you’re a man on the anti-#GamerGate side, you are immediately accused of being a “white knight” who just wants to have sex with the women he is defending. If you’re a woman on the pro-#GamerGate side, you are immediately accused of being an “attention seeker” who just wants men to like her and accept her. Words such as “GG salt” and “man tears” are thrown around, whilst doxxing, threatening, bullying and harassment occurs on both sides, and when caught out they simply say, “Well the other side started it.”

My question to you all is, if a small minority are guilty of harassment and making death and rape threats, and that is enough to condemn the entire #GamerGate argument, why is it then okay, if not acceptable and at times warranted, for anti-#GamerGate members to do the same? I present to you a tweet in which the harassment of a ten-year-old kid was considered getting off easy, as compared to the harassment of an adult woman.

AntiGGthreats9

I have this to ask: Seriously?

 

What has all of this fighting achieved?

You would be forgiven for believing that it was nothing but actually, you would be incorrect.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

Many like to exclaim that the headless movement that is #GamerGate has achieved no clear statement of their intentions, but this is, as it so happens, factually incorrect.

On the one side, #GamerGate has forced ethical policies to be enacted by various websites.

On the other side, #GamerGate has brought about active discussion regarding the treatment of women in the industry, including getting the likes of Anita Sarkeesian on The Colbert Report, and springboarding her to near-household-level fame amongst the techheads and geeks of the world.

Nonetheless, through the power of the media, those not in the know tend to shy away from #GamerGate and declare it a hate movement by default, where it has got to the point that people preface sentiments with, “I’m no GG supporter, but…” That, dear readers, is the take-away for many gaming outsiders.

 

Closing thoughts

It’s clear that people on either side of #GamerGate are fighting different battles. Anti-#GamerGate are fighting against harassment and abuse of women in gaming. Pro-#GamerGate are fighting against unethical journalism and corruption in gaming.

The topic of sexism in gaming is a contrasting one, with many women in gaming standing up and proclaiming themselves to be victims of abuse, whilst other women also in the gaming are calling “cop out” and declaring that actually, women in gaming are surviving and thriving, albeit not with anything remotely resembling the numbers of males.

Capture

I don’t think that feminism is an enemy of gaming, and fighting feminism should not be the point. We’ve seen that some feminists are willing to work together with others in the gaming industry to produce a better quality of gaming experience. Why on Earth would we want to stop that from happening? The argument that feminism is ruining gaming by making developers hesitant to be criticised, is offset by the argument that representation of women must happen or developers will be criticised anyway. And whereas the likes of Anita Sarkeesian would seek to critique without looking for discussion, disregarding pro-#GamerGate examples of representation of women in gaming, she is not the only voice of feminism… just the most antagonised and therefore celebrated right now. But there are others, and they do a much better job of understanding that no, it is not a ‘stubborn resistance to change’ that is the reason gamers are upset, but rather that examples of “misrepresentation” are taken out of context, or disrespecting of other female perspectives that simply don’t see a problem — and not because of internalised sexism.

Unfortunately, as has been stated earlier, there is no change without revolution. And revolution can be chaotic, destructive, not without some casualties along the way (I don’t mean casual gamers). Therefore all of this fighting, if ugly, is necessary, because from the ashes of the fallout of this political warfare will rise a different gaming industry for everyone. One that will undoubtedly be unrecognisable to those of us who grew up in the old one. But one that, hopefully, will be better. Changed. Sadly right now, it’s all the wrong people who are spearheading the cause for each side. You need people who are willing to be diplomatic, and have a proper discussion. I can at least see hints of that on the #GamerGate side but even they tend to flounder and trip on their frustrations, as has been demonstrated by Total Biscuit’s scathing attacks on Leigh Alexander recently.

The focus needs to shift away from harassment and whether or not it exists, and move towards highlighting and then abolishing corruption. The focus must shift to accountability, taking every single article, one at a time, for every single website, and looking at the facts as they are presented, then determining whether it is ethical or not. If the fight remains around harassment and whether or not it exists, then I’m afraid the entirety of the #GamerGate saga will have been an exercise in futility.

 

So what is my opinion of #GamerGate?

This might surprise you, but I actually consider myself to be a fence-sitter in the whole argument. I am for equality and against discrimination, which is why I cannot abide the disregarding of women, LGBT communities and people of colour who fall under the #NotYourShield banner, nor can I disregard that #GamerGate has in fact spawned from a disgusting attack on a developer of a free to play game, and the subsequent attacks on other women in the games industry.

Further, I don’t think that #GamerGate is the biggest issue in gaming, let alone the world right now. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that ethical practices are a massive topic of conversation, one that in the past I have lost some friends over, because after all gaming is a multi-billion-dollar franchise, and a very expensive pastime, and I’m honestly tired of people who have money to burn telling me that I must just shut up and play games and be happy, as if they fall into my fucking lap on command. If you can convince your ten thousand readers, unethically, to buy a $60 game, you’ve just made a developer $600,000 worth of money. Extreme example sure, but I have my own first-hand experiences of occasions where a particular website garnered favour with a distributor, developer or publisher, or vice versa, so I am not unaware of what goes on. How would you feel if we started punting the Nintendo New3DS as a viable gaming platform purely because we were offered a review platform if we did so, but never declared that to anyone? These things happen, and in an industry with so much money at stake, integrity and accountability are important.

But as much as I can get behind what #GamerGate is trying to accomplish, I still feel that there are bigger issues. In gaming alone, as much as women are under-represented, throughout my research what I found startling was that the overwhelming majority of either gender, was white. Where are the gamers of other races? Why is representation in this manner not also a discussion? The idea that gaming is a thing that needs to grow up is categorically untrue, because the likes of Bethesda and BioWare have been doing LGBT and race representation since the nineties. Gamers though? Less so. I can count on one hand, the number of black gamers I know. But as for women, I know many on both sides of this whole #GamerGate saga. So why is racial representation not also a large factor? Is it a case of one issue at a time? Or is it, as was previously stated, simply a political issue where the privileged fight each other while the rest of us are left to suffer the consequences of the rift created by the fight?

I have lost respect for so many people in this industry, and I find myself constantly upset by watching what’s going on. The worst, for me, is seeing those who claim to be above all of it and determining the rest of us to be silly and childish. But how wrong are they, really? In a world with global warming, an ongoing energy crisis, anti-vaccination, anti-GMOs, gluten allergies (seriously?), religious conflict, and failing democracies, how big of an issue is ethics in games journalism, really?

Here’s the kicker though: How many people outside of the gaming industry actually care about #GamerGate enough to educate themselves about it? Further, how many people within gaming development are actually bothered by it, or interested in joining the fight? I hear a lot of people go “I don’t care about all the drama, I only care about the games,” and how can I possibly fault them for that? Even if #GamerGate potentially ends up affecting their gaming in some way in the long run, how can I say they are wrong to hold this mindset?

To conclude then, I stand neither with nor against #GamerGate. I stand with equality. I stand with integrity. I stand with logic. And I stand with discussion. And when either side is willing to have a discussion, I for one will have both ears ready to listen, and both eyes ready to see. Will you?

Note: For a full series of the events of #GamerGate, please check out the Know Your Meme website, which presents what I’ve found to be the least biased perspective available.

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Can You Tell The Difference Between Xbox One, PlayStation 4 And PC Graphics? http://egmr.net/2015/03/can-tell-difference-xbox-one-playstation-4-pc-graphics/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/can-tell-difference-xbox-one-playstation-4-pc-graphics/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 14:00:39 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168159 Brace yourselves for one of the most important videos in recent years. In the latest video from Gamespot’s Reality Check series, Cam Robinson discusses whether gamers can actually tell the […]

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Brace yourselves for one of the most important videos in recent years.

In the latest video from Gamespot’s Reality Check series, Cam Robinson discusses whether gamers can actually tell the graphical difference between the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. He does so by setting up a standardised rig and letting six people have a go at it. The result? Not as obvious as you might think.

There was a while during the previous generation when the graphics in games were good enough that people stopped caring and out of that time we got some truly sterling entries in gaming, the likes of BioShock, Dead Space, Gears of War, Assassin’s Creed, and so much more. Then the new generation of consoles released and the focus shifted once again on the visuals. Graphics comparisons became all the rage once more, and people cared far too much about whether a game looked as good on their preferred choice of console.

Despite the fact that they would only ever see it on their preferred choice of console, so the differences wouldn’t matter anyway.

Nonetheless, the experiment involved the playing of three games; Far Cry 4, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and Assassin’s Creed: Unity, on all three platforms, but with the rigs manipulated in such a way that it would not be possible to determine which gaming platform you were playing on. The effect being that you had to guess based purely on the visuals and gameplay, which gaming platform you were playing on.

Interestingly, those who guessed PC did so for the feel of the game and not the visuals themselves. Further, a lot of them just got it flat out wrong. You’ll see that some event invented differences where there are none. I strongly encourage every person to watch this video in the shiny 1080p 60fps quality on YouTube, to get the full effect of it. And then when you’re done, be sure you play that guessing game at the end of the video.

When you’re done, please do come back and let us know what you think. We’d really be interested in hearing your thoughts on it.

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Elite: Dangerous Will Release On Xbox One, And Not Be Dumbed Down http://egmr.net/2015/03/elite-dangerous-will-release-xbox-one-not-dumbed/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/elite-dangerous-will-release-xbox-one-not-dumbed/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 13:00:55 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168153 The Elite series of games have been around for almost as long as I have, in this gaming industry. That said, it has been a very long time since we’ve […]

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The Elite series of games have been around for almost as long as I have, in this gaming industry.

That said, it has been a very long time since we’ve seen a half-decent space simulator, let alone a proper Elite title.

My love affair with the space sim genre began with Freelancer, a game that presented you with a fully imagined galaxy and gave you freedom of exploration, allowing you to be whatever you’d like, from a trader to a bounty hunter to a pirate. The Elite and X series were other big games at the time, and I unfortunately never got into them at all.

But the Elite series is making a massive comeback with Elite: Dangerous, and we finally have some solid news about the game to share with you all.

The big announcement that came out of GDC 2015 was that the game will release not only on PC and Mac, but also on Xbox One. No PS4 version we’re afraid, but hey, you get No Man’s Sky.

Now this naturally led to fans questioning whether the game experience would be dumbed down in some way, to account for the less extensive controller setup, and somewhat inferior console hardware. Makes sense, especially after recent other games were outed for being inferior on a particular console, and the Xbox One in particular has suffered this a fair bit.

So developer Frontier, via CEO David Braben, took to the game’s official forums to allay fears and assure fans that the Xbox One version of the game will most certainly not be inferior in any way — except maybe the price, amirite?

“Elite: Dangerous on Xbox One will be the complete and authentic Elite: Dangerous experience. It will not be “dumbed down”. We’ll be working with an all-new audience, but that doesn’t mean a change in direction for the game, and nor does it mean slowing development on the PC version.”

Following this was the announcement that all versions of the game will share the the same overarching narrative and galaxy state. If that sounds like cross-play to you, we might just be on the same page about this.

Elite: Dangerous is slated for release around mid-year. The question is, will you be picking it up? Personally, the inside-spaceship view has always led to be a bit of nausea for me, so I might give it a try but as to whether I commit or not depends on my ability to adjust to it. Nonetheless, let us know what you think in the comments below.

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The EGMR Offensive #4: Use Idiots As Biofuel http://egmr.net/2015/03/egmr-offensive-4-use-idiots-biofuel/ http://egmr.net/2015/03/egmr-offensive-4-use-idiots-biofuel/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:40 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=168129 Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive. This week we’re discussing all sorts of things from Halo: Master Chief Collection’s failure to properly handle […]

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Welcome to a brand new gaming podcast, which we’re calling The EGMR Offensive.

This week we’re discussing all sorts of things from Halo: Master Chief Collection’s failure to properly handle matchmaking in South Africa, to Samsung’s latest smartphone, the Galaxy S6, to collectors editions that are just batshit crazy. We hope you enjoy the show. Please share your thoughts with us in the comments once you’re done giving it a listen. We really appreciate the feedback.

Here are the topics discussed during this week’s episode:

  • Is Microsoft blocking Halo: MCC matchmaking in SA?
  • Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S6
  • Collectors editions so complex you need a spreadsheet
  • Making light of serious situations
  • Questions

Keen on getting offended? Here’s how:

Direct Download | Libsyn | iTunes | Android | RSS

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