The Gaming Rant 6
This is an unedited, uncensored re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.
WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.
Contains strong language and sexual references. This article is satire and does not reflect the views of TheSixthAxis or myself. Only Kazunori Yamauchi knows the real truth.
So who here has played Airline Manager on Facebook? No, me neither, but man what a fun gaming week it would be to work in NATS ATC now (the national air traffic control centre). OMGZ there’s been a volcano eruption, the world is coming to an end! No problem, if you can’t handle the traffic, bring in some hardcore gamers, they will have the routes sorted out in no time.
Seriously whatever happened to me being able to choose for myself whether to take a life-threatening risk or not? Remember when we were kids and you didn’t have to wear bike helmets or seatbelts or wear 100 pieces of padding to do the vaguest of sport-related activities? Or when video games didn’t have stupid epilepsy warnings, and when BBC news presenters didn’t start each clip with “please be aware this footage contains flash photography”. I have epilepsy; I don’t need to be reminded every five minutes that a game can make me have a seizure, it comes with the territory. If you are that forgetful, you should be culled by natural selection.
I was supposed to be in Germany on Monday. If I want to risk crashing in an ash storm and the pilot and crew are ok with that, why the hell shouldn’t I be able to? Health & Safety is way overrated *puffs on her cigarette*.
What? It’s delayed? Are you joking, cos it’s not funny
Of course, by far the most annoying thing about this whole ash business is that my video games are delayed. Seriously, how dare they. And how come Dead To Rights Retribution is delayed but FIFA 10 World Cup is on time? How does that work then? FIFA is so important that EA has labradors swimming across the English channel with Bluray pallets strapped on their backs, but those of us who are gagging to play another average 3rd person shooter that brings nothing new to the genre have to put up with being treated like second class citizens? Unacceptable.
Belgium bans violent video games
Or maybe it was Switzerland, I forgot. Anyway a couple of weeks ago some random European country thought it would be a good idea to further limit consumer freedom by taking away the option of buying Dead Space, while strangely leaving the Aliens movie box set on sale.
Seriously, which is more disturbing: Modern Warfare 2’s No Russian scene, or Saw 4? I rest my case.
Are you a parent who thinks this is a good idea? Then I have one word for you: China. There’s nothing like government censorship to make me feel all warm and cosy inside, and as you know, the people of China are way better off with censored media; wouldn’t you like to live in a country like that Mr and Mrs. Ignorant Parent? In the free world, I believe we call it an “oppressive regime”.
Parents aren’t stupid, they’re naïve
I have some minors on my PSN friends list (I know, I’m a predator – deal with it). Two of them I happen to know are 16 years old each, local friends, and guess what they have both been playing online together? Modern Warfare 2, and Bioshock 2.
Now, at least in the case of the girl, her parents aren’t dumb. I’ve chatted with them on Skype, and I concluded they were in fact massively over-protective. That has nothing to do with the fact her mom wouldn’t let me shag her daughter, of course – obviously. No, they are over-protective to the point where I feel sorry for her; she has no freedom and won’t have a clue how to look after herself when she gets carted off to University in 2 years, because they barely let her outside without an electronic tag around her ankle.
This girl has also been regularly sexually harassed on PSN – a situation I dealt with maturely by chatting the offending gentleman up, getting him to give his address and phone number out on chat then calling him up and threatening to slit his throat if he wrote to the girl again, while it was recorded and uploaded to YouTube.
What does all this mean, other than the fact I’m a jerk? It means her over-protective parents don’t have one iota of a clue what she is getting up to, or being exposed to, online. Yet, for some reason, her over-protective parents allow her to play 18-rated video games which I know for a fact she has no money to purchase of her own accord.
Seriously, I mean what the f*ck… you shield your children from talking to any stranger in the real world, or watching violent movies, or talking on MSN unless she sneaks her laptop into bed, yet you let her play 18-rated games and chat on PSN all day long? If you are one of these types of parents and you’re whining about video games, here is a kind appeal to your sensibilities: shut the fuck up until you can read a rating label.
While we’re on the subject of video games screwing up teenage girls, let me ask you this: how many victims of gunshot wounds do you hear about in A&E every Saturday night? Now tell me how many drunk people who got into a fist fight you hear about in the same place.
Last I checked, there is an unfortunate dearth of drinking games, and since these drunken tosspots obviously weren’t affected by video games, I propose a new controversial genre: FPDs, or First Person Drinkers.
The aim is simple: it is the near future, in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. Your only chance for escape is to drink yourself into oblivion. Zombies can be intoxed to death with increasingly high level liquors, and drop loot in the form of wheat and yeast extract which can be crafted in log barrels to make higher potencies. You start at level 1 with Baileys, and proceed through Jeigermeister, Perno and eventually culminating at level 50 with Tequila triple-shots and moonshine.
Given the current A&E stats, I can see no possible negative consequences of such a genre. Everyone is drunk already, so even if it does affect children, you’re never gonna notice anyway. ESRB will rate it E for everyone of course, because it has no violent content. They’re smart like that.
Crytek: Crysis 2 has “no port”
Crytek has apparently reported to Edge – in one of the most laughable pieces of technical bollocks I’ve heard lately – that their game Crysis 2 has “no port”, that it will have the best graphics ever, and as the icing on the cake, CEO Cevat Yeril claimed that free demos will become a thing of the past and we should expect to stump up $10-15 for an extended demo.
Pretty impressive stuff coming from a company with no proven track record in the console market, eh?
First off, let’s debunk the “no port” stupidity. PCs, 360s and PS3s run on different hardware architectures, different operating systems and different SDKs. It is not possible, I repeat, not possible to develop a product that runs on all three machine without porting. If you want to do that, you have to create a virtual machine (VM) to run the code on top of it. Then you can write the game code without porting, but the VM itself has to be ported. It also adds an extra layer to the game code which slows down execution.
I realise an analogy may be required. Consider it like this: you want to clean the walls of your house. You could stand at each wall of the living room, wipe it with a sponge, then move onto the next wall. But when you go to the next room, the walls are in a different arrangement – perhaps an L-shaped bathroom for example – and you have to move around in a different fashion to do the washing. Here, the living room is an Xbox 360, and the bathroom is a PS3.
Now let’s say you don’t want to go to the effort of moving around or working out the wall orientation in each room. So, you construct an automation layer. You fill your house with about 4 feet of treacle, then install a moving platform which wades through the treacle, tracking against each wall automatically. It moves up and down in a continuous fashion so you can reach the ceiling, but you have no control over it. Now all you have to do is stand on the platform and scrub, paying no attention to where you are or where you’re going. The treacle and the platform here is the VM. It will still get the job done, but will it go as smoothly or efficiently?
Want proof? Well, lucky for you, there is a product that already works just like this. It’s called Java. The Java VM is ported to various platforms, then you write the code in the Java language and it runs on any machine with a Java VM available.
So, theoretically, this can also be done for consoles. Does it make for the future of development? Well, obviously it does. I mean, look at the Java applications available today. Clearly some of the finest games run on Java, and all the fastest, smoothest running applications also run on Java. Oh wait, that’s right, they don’t, they’re all platform-specific. Because Java is slow, bloated and generally shit.
Trying to write a game to run on a VM across PC, 360 and PS3 is a terrible, terrible idea, and will lead to only one thing: complete slop. Probably with the consistency of treacle.
Crytek: Paid Demos are the Future
Orly? I proposed this idea to a casual gamer friend of mine – he laughed in my face.
Now I don’t care if they want to charge $10 or 1 cent, paying for an advert is wrong, and an advert is what it is (wow, that sounds kind of like FirstPlay eh). Having a look at my shelf, here are some games I bought that I had never heard of (because I wasn’t reading gaming sites every day at the time), that I bought only because they had a free demo, that would have otherwise passed me by: Bioshock, Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge, Resistance 2, Overlord, FEAR 2, Killzone 2. And that’s just from the end of 2008 to March 2009. If you’re not reading gaming news, you’re certainly not going to pay for a demo of a game you’ve never heard of.
My friend said “whatever happened to the concept of spending money to make money?”. Indeed, it’s called an advertising budget last I checked. Anyone who says making a demo is time-consuming should be shot on sight. A demo is a source code fork of a game with some text changed and some code chopped out and replaced with purchase screens. If it takes you more than a week to make that, do us a favour and resign now. Oh and by the way I’ve made demos; by far the longest part of the process is the publisher’s QA approval, so you can spare me the lecture on justifying why your demo is so special.
What about the expense of making a demo? A few dozen man hours. This is literally the cheapest and most effective form of advertising of any media. Making a movie trailer involves tons of editing, new voicing, new sound sequencing. Making a demo doesn’t, because a discrete, sequential portion of a game that has nothing in it that isn’t in the full game, or out of order. Not only that, but every single person who goes onto XBL or PSN will see it, as opposed to a movie trailer which you will only happen to see if you switch on your TV at the right moment.
Last year Sony published figures stating that games with demos sold 33% more copies on average. Just think about that – that’s hundreds of millions of dollars of extra revenue for the sake of spending the effort to make something considerably cheaper and more directly targeted than a movie trailer. You would be crazy to sacrifice a revenue stream like that.
Let’s face it. Games cost a ton of money. When I bought my HDTV, the shop let me screw around with the settings on all their TVs, check reviews on the internet, hook up my own hardware, try Blurays and DVDs, SD and HD broadcasts, all in the shop, for several hours. I sat on the floor reading the manuals and tuning the TVs to see which gave a picture that was most like the way I wanted it. Why did they let me do this? Because it takes them 5 or 10 minutes to reset after the shop is closed, and they’re going to make a barrel load of cash out of me. It’s called customer service.
There is only one good reason not to release a free demo of your game: if it sucks, and you know it.
FIFA 10 is good
And here comes a perfect case in point. I hate football games. I dislike football in general, although I can be found watching the Euro, World Cup and occasionally Champions League closing stage matches. I don’t know anything about the teams or players and I don’t follow the schedules. I am still struggling with the off-side rule. England is captained by some bloke called Fabio Capello. I think. That is the extent of my knowledge of football (doesn’t make me a very good lesbian I know, sorry about that).
I had decided to watch the World Cup this summer, so with some reticence I downloaded the FIFA 10 World Cup demo. It was brilliant. I went to the shop and bought the original FIFA 10.
But what have they really sold to me here? Well they’ve sold FIFA 10, FIFA 10 World Cup, FIFA 11 and a premier league Live Season access subscription at the least. Would I have paid 50p for a demo? No I would not.
Moving on though – why the hell do I like a football game? I can tell you I got some pretty amusing “FIFA 10? Damn I wasn’t expecting that!” messages over the few days that followed. Yet strangely, playing against my ex’s favourite team Arsenal – which I regularly rag on him about – and losing, led to the greatest frequency of cussing at my PS3 in a 5 minute period ever seen since the purchase of the machine.
I was left shocked, dismayed and bitter at how enjoyable the game was. Fellow females, I hang my head in shame. I have let you all down. Well, the pretty ones anyway.
Modern Warfare 2: The Bitchslap Chronicles
What’s the best thing about Modern Warfare 2? Spec Ops or Multi-player? Neither. It’s the classic soap opera currently unraveling between our ex-Infinity Ward friends West and Zampella, Activision and all the other walkouts. Lawsuits are being loaded into stinger missiles even as we speak. W&Z – now apparently known as the ‘Modern Warfare Two’ – have Respawned into a new company that will no doubt spend the rest of its days failing to emulate the success of the brand.
Paragraph 68 of Activision’s counter-suit struck me with particular amusement. It states:
“As alleged above, West and Zampella have breached the MOU by interfering with Activision’s ability to publish and market Modern Warfare 2 by, among other things, failing to include the Activision logo in the game and refusing Activision’s request to remedy that failure. West and Zampella have further breached the MOU by openly criticizing Activision which interfered with Activision’s ability to market Modern Warfare 2.”
I don’t know about you, but 1. I’ve never seen a Memorandum of Understanding which prevents a studio from criticising a publisher – it’s called freedom of speech and it’s the law – and 2. Last I checked they didn’t criticise Activision until after the game was out and they failed to get paid for their work (so they say).
Of course, you have to wonder – not including the Activision logo impeded their ability to publish the game? Why? Imagine the customers’ incense! “Oh my God I rushed home, ripped the shrinkwrap off Modern Warfare 2, put it in the console and holy shit there was no Activision logo – I took it straight back to the store in disgust!” Yes, I’m sure you lost loads of sales from that Greek tragedy.
Who’s doing the marketing? Infinity Ward or Activision? Exactly. Slap your logo on the TV ads then. How does it make the game harder to market when nobody sees the contents of the disk til they’ve bought it? Talk about a flawed argument.
The logo issue was of course, just one item “among other things”. Oops-a-daisy though, because you forgot to state in the affidavit what the other things were. One can therefore only assume they were even more petty than a stupid logo.
Of course, there are few things funnier than an arrogant boss deliberately making controversial remarks for a year then getting publicly owned. That applies to me too, so I better shut up now.