Giant Bomb News

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Worth Reading: 02/01/13

Things are just all over the place this week. Weird games, serious articles, YouTube confessionals, and plenty more.

This was a topic I planned to bring up on the next Bombcast, but I’ll toss it your way ahead of time.

I’m playing Fire Emblem: Awakening, right? It’s a good kind of stressful, and a satisfying step forward into my understanding of strategy games, based on my experience with XCOM. Everyone told me to play the game with permadeath switched on, despite the introduction of a casual mode, where soldiers just “faint” and come back after the battle is over. Fire Emblem had permadeath before permadeath was cool, or became a hardcore player’s badge of honor. Against my natural tendencies, I turned it on.

So far, I’ve only “lost” one of my soldiers. I should have lost a bunch more, but Fire Emblem doesn’t overwrite your save each turn, so you can turn off the machine, reload a save, and pretend nothing happened. I’ve done that a few times, and probably will do that a few more times before my time with the game is over. Thing is, am I playing it wrong? Is restarting a chapter undermining the whole point of embracing the concept of permadeath? To some extent, I’m forgiving myself for just coming to grips with the game’s mechanics, but at some point soon, I’m only doing it because I can’t grapple with failure.

It feels wrong, so it probably is. Soon, I’ll just have to give up on the concept of saving everyone, and if that means I’m left with a weak group of soldiers and can’t finish the game...so be it?

Hey, You Should Play This

Do you want to have a similar experience to last week's Unprofessional Friday, where Vinny and Ryan (tried to) pilot a real-life aircraft? How about with a fraction of the effort? Crashed Landing has you covered. Players are tasked with piloting a lander, and doing so with control over four different thrusters. It’s much, much harder than one would imagine, which is why there’s an “autopilot” switch (P) that engages all four at once, making navigation manageable. I’m wouldn’t go so far as to describe it as easy, since the later stages require some seriously squirrely manipulation to avoid destruction. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to try and pull it off with full control. Good luck?

Another one in the pile of...well, just play it. Did you like Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden? Okay, then.

And You Should Read This, Too

Video games are a convenient scapegoat for the violence in media debate because video games do a pretty terrific job at glorifying violence. Not all of us may come to these video games because of the violence, but it’s there, and what does our obsession with violence say about the medium, or at least its perception? Anyway, the always excellent Simon Parkin has filed this disturbingly enlightening report about the relationship between gun-focused video games, the money companies pay for the rights to include specific guns, and the reason gun manufacturers are more than happy to work with publishers to make this happen. That should disturb us. It disturbs me.

We have nearly closed the book on THQ as the company, but there are more stories to be told about what happened and why. MCV managed to get in touch with many of the companies who picked up the pieces from the now-defunct THQ, and why each piece appealed to them. There are a few choices quotes from former president Jason Rubin, who (rightly) attributes THQ’s demise to terrible decisions made prior to his arrival. There is only so much you can do to save a shambling corpse of a game publisher, and THQ was exactly that when Rubin showed up. (Audible sigh.)

If You Click It, It Will Play

Kickstarter Has Promise, And Hopefully Developers Don't Screw It Up

Yeah, Greenlight Still Has Issues, But Some Games Look Pretty Cool

This Kotaku Quote From Splinter Cell: Blacklight's Creative Director Bums Me Out

Our lead writer on Blacklist is Richard Dansky. When I called him, I said, 'Hey Richard, we're making Splinter Cell six, do you want to write it for us? And his first question was, 'Do I need to come up with a story that's gonna require Sam to take out 800 guys?' And I paused for a second and I said… 'This is sad, Richard, but I think so. We can talk about it, but I think at the end of the day… we want it to be more and more "ghost," [to have non-lethal options], but yeah, at the end of the day, it's just Sam Fisher and bad guys and maps, right?'

Patrick's Watching TED Talks As Part of a New Years Resolution, So Here You Go

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
208 Comments
Posted by patrickklepek

This was a topic I planned to bring up on the next Bombcast, but I’ll toss it your way ahead of time.

I’m playing Fire Emblem: Awakening, right? It’s a good kind of stressful, and a satisfying step forward into my understanding of strategy games, based on my experience with XCOM. Everyone told me to play the game with permadeath switched on, despite the introduction of a casual mode, where soldiers just “faint” and come back after the battle is over. Fire Emblem had permadeath before permadeath was cool, or became a hardcore player’s badge of honor. Against my natural tendencies, I turned it on.

So far, I’ve only “lost” one of my soldiers. I should have lost a bunch more, but Fire Emblem doesn’t overwrite your save each turn, so you can turn off the machine, reload a save, and pretend nothing happened. I’ve done that a few times, and probably will do that a few more times before my time with the game is over. Thing is, am I playing it wrong? Is restarting a chapter undermining the whole point of embracing the concept of permadeath? To some extent, I’m forgiving myself for just coming to grips with the game’s mechanics, but at some point soon, I’m only doing it because I can’t grapple with failure.

It feels wrong, so it probably is. Soon, I’ll just have to give up on the concept of saving everyone, and if that means I’m left with a weak group of soldiers and can’t finish the game...so be it?

Hey, You Should Play This

Do you want to have a similar experience to last week's Unprofessional Friday, where Vinny and Ryan (tried to) pilot a real-life aircraft? How about with a fraction of the effort? Crashed Landing has you covered. Players are tasked with piloting a lander, and doing so with control over four different thrusters. It’s much, much harder than one would imagine, which is why there’s an “autopilot” switch (P) that engages all four at once, making navigation manageable. I’m wouldn’t go so far as to describe it as easy, since the later stages require some seriously squirrely manipulation to avoid destruction. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to try and pull it off with full control. Good luck?

Another one in the pile of...well, just play it. Did you like Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden? Okay, then.

And You Should Read This, Too

Video games are a convenient scapegoat for the violence in media debate because video games do a pretty terrific job at glorifying violence. Not all of us may come to these video games because of the violence, but it’s there, and what does our obsession with violence say about the medium, or at least its perception? Anyway, the always excellent Simon Parkin has filed this disturbingly enlightening report about the relationship between gun-focused video games, the money companies pay for the rights to include specific guns, and the reason gun manufacturers are more than happy to work with publishers to make this happen. That should disturb us. It disturbs me.

We have nearly closed the book on THQ as the company, but there are more stories to be told about what happened and why. MCV managed to get in touch with many of the companies who picked up the pieces from the now-defunct THQ, and why each piece appealed to them. There are a few choices quotes from former president Jason Rubin, who (rightly) attributes THQ’s demise to terrible decisions made prior to his arrival. There is only so much you can do to save a shambling corpse of a game publisher, and THQ was exactly that when Rubin showed up. (Audible sigh.)

If You Click It, It Will Play

Kickstarter Has Promise, And Hopefully Developers Don't Screw It Up

Yeah, Greenlight Still Has Issues, But Some Games Look Pretty Cool

This Kotaku Quote From Splinter Cell: Blacklight's Creative Director Bums Me Out

Our lead writer on Blacklist is Richard Dansky. When I called him, I said, 'Hey Richard, we're making Splinter Cell six, do you want to write it for us? And his first question was, 'Do I need to come up with a story that's gonna require Sam to take out 800 guys?' And I paused for a second and I said… 'This is sad, Richard, but I think so. We can talk about it, but I think at the end of the day… we want it to be more and more "ghost," [to have non-lethal options], but yeah, at the end of the day, it's just Sam Fisher and bad guys and maps, right?'

Patrick's Watching TED Talks As Part of a New Years Resolution, So Here You Go

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Staff
Posted by ShinyD3mon

Cool beans!

Posted by TheGlitchmaster

Nice stuff this week, Patrick!

Posted by Judakel

Very happy to see you include the article on how gun manufacturers profit from certain games. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Lorbst

Giantbomb is the cutest!

Posted by Mr_Misery

What does that Cameron Russell video have to do with video games?

Posted by MikPick

Restarting upon the death of your characters is recommended, since you can go back and try something different to prevent their demise! Save the "Leave them dead" runs for later when you're more accustomed to the series.

Posted by mlarrabee

"Surgeon Simulator 2013."

Although I would like to see what Surgeon Greenlight 2013 looks like.

Posted by WMWA

Word

Posted by TadThuggish

I know I haven't read it yet, but why is MCVUK linked after all that Lauren Wainwright stuff?

Edited by Hailinel

You're not playing Fire Emblem wrong by restarting. One of the satisfying challenges of the game is getting to the very end without losing anyone, and given how fun so many of Fire Emblem's characters are, it can really sting to lose someone you enjoyed having along for the ride. It's by no means the only "right" way to play the game, but there's no shame at all in it.

EDIT: You might also be interested in this newly translated Iwata Asks on Awakening.

Online
Posted by CosmicBatman

Thanks Patrick

Posted by Flappy

@Hailinel said:

You're not playing Fire Emblem wrong by restarting. One of the satisfying challenges of the game is getting to the very end without losing anyone, and given how fun so many of Fire Emblem's characters are, it can really sting to lose someone you enjoyed having along for the ride. It's by no means the only "right" way to play the game, but there's no shame at all in it.

I believe it's safe to say that this is the mindset of the average Fire Emblem player. If a character is lost, curse the RNG, reset the level and learn from your mistakes. I consider it a form of learning.

Posted by Pixeldemon

Patrick, the method you've used in Fire Emblem is more widely know as "save scumming". I think you are entitled to do whatever you want in a single-player game, but sometimes embracing a game's punishment ends up being more fun :).

However, for a permadeath-based game to work, it needs to give you a chance to recover. I have no idea if Fire Emblem does this.

Posted by Antithesis

I don't find the gun thing disturbing at all. I'm a gun owner and have more than a few military style semi-auto rifles, shotguns, and handguns. I always grew up with guns but Metal Gear Solid is largely responsible for my fascination for military style arms, and I don't think that is a bad thing. If not for the games inclusion of actual firearms I might not be involved in such a fulfilling hobby.

Posted by Centurypunk

Oh hey i was meaning to watch that TED

Posted by WMWA

I loved that MCG piece. Reading the Koch CEO part was reassuring. Especially when I freaked out thinking it was the KOCH brothers initially. Bad vibes by association?

Posted by Zero_

Thanks for showing Cryamore - that looks kinda cool

Posted by Hailinel

@Pixeldemon said:

Patrick, the method you've used in Fire Emblem is more widely know as "save scumming". I think you are entitled to do whatever you want in a single-player game, but sometimes embracing a game's punishment ends up being more fun :).

However, for a permadeath-based game to work, it needs to give you a chance to recover. I have no idea if Fire Emblem does this.

It does, in that Fire Emblem games continually present the player with new units, sometimes up to the very last chapter. The trade-off comes in the fact that units that join later aren't necessarily going to be as strong as units you've been nurturing from the early stages, and they'll have less time to develop.

Online
Posted by BillyTheKid

Literally my favorite part of the week is this stuff right here. I love getting all these internets in my face.

Posted by Dezztroy

What's so different about real guns appearing in games compared to, say, real cars?

Posted by Wastrel

That speedrun of Ocarina of Time is glorious. Entertaining and informative.

Posted by SpiderRumor

The link for the XNA article leads to the Brian Reynolds article.

Posted by Fobwashed

That race car game. Wow. Just wow.

Online
Posted by Hailinel

@Dezztroy said:

What's so different about real guns appearing in games compared to, say, real cars?

By paying for the license to use real gun models in their games, developers are effectively funding weapons manufacturers.

Online
Posted by jred250

Can't wait to read the THQ story. I heard some quotes from it earlier in the week and didn't really know the source. Great work as usual, Patrick!

Posted by Bagel

Patrick, the casual mode was introduced because sometimes, the RNG absolutely will just screw you over, and the most fulfilling game experience for many players is bringing as many of your characters to the end as possible. Fire Emblem is not always a fair game, and most players I know will restart if they lose someone, because there's a chance you might lose out on a portion of the game due to its randomness. Casual mode is just a piece of modern game design put in to make that process more expedient (in particular using the quicksave that's available with casual), while still keeping the other, traditional option for the more hardcore elements of the fanbase (or as someone else suggested, another run after finishing the game the first time). You're not playing the game wrong by attempting to fix your strategic mistakes on a map.

Posted by Brodehouse

You're disturbed by people buying products they are legally entitled to purchase. People see guns, get interested by them, and then purchase the ones they find appealing. You talk about guns like they were narcotics and not legal consumer products.

Game companies pay for licensed cars. People see cars in games, get interested by them, and then purchase the ones they find appealing. But this is different because it's a car. Never mind that more people die from car accidents every year than guns. Never mind that the majority of gun deaths are suicide.

Seriously, I respect the work you do but your politics clouds your judgement. And I'm a liberal too.

Online
Posted by bombedyermom

I would love to watch patrick go waist deep in EVE.

Posted by Brodehouse

@Hailinel said:

@Dezztroy said:

What's so different about real guns appearing in games compared to, say, real cars?

By paying for the license to use real gun models in their games, developers are effectively funding weapons manufacturers.

By paying for the license to use real car models in their games, developers are effectively funding vehicle manufacturers.

Online
Posted by Antithesis

@Hailinel said:

@Dezztroy said:

What's so different about real guns appearing in games compared to, say, real cars?

By paying for the license to use real gun models in their games, developers are effectively funding weapons manufacturers.

By Paying for the license to use real car models in their games, developers are effectively funding car manufacturers.

Posted by endaround

Region locking exists only so price discrimination across regions can exist. Price discrimination is huge in video games (see pre-order bonuses, DLC and collector's editions), something to be expected in a medium whose price is fairly fixed.

@Hailinel said:

@Pixeldemon said:

Patrick, the method you've used in Fire Emblem is more widely know as "save scumming". I think you are entitled to do whatever you want in a single-player game, but sometimes embracing a game's punishment ends up being more fun :).

However, for a permadeath-based game to work, it needs to give you a chance to recover. I have no idea if Fire Emblem does this.

It does, in that Fire Emblem games continually present the player with new units, sometimes up to the very last chapter. The trade-off comes in the fact that units that join later aren't necessarily going to be as strong as units you've been nurturing from the early stages, and they'll have less time to develop.

Except often times the number of healers or mages Fire Emblem has given you is rather small so losing them can often just strand you at some point.

Posted by Flacracker

@Hailinel said:

@Dezztroy said:

What's so different about real guns appearing in games compared to, say, real cars?

By paying for the license to use real gun models in their games, developers are effectively funding weapons manufacturers.

Yeah... and?

Posted by Hailinel

@Brodehouse said:

@Hailinel said:

@Dezztroy said:

What's so different about real guns appearing in games compared to, say, real cars?

By paying for the license to use real gun models in their games, developers are effectively funding weapons manufacturers.

By paying for the license to use real car models in their games, developers are effectively funding vehicle manufacturers.

@Antithesis said:

@Hailinel said:

@Dezztroy said:

What's so different about real guns appearing in games compared to, say, real cars?

By paying for the license to use real gun models in their games, developers are effectively funding weapons manufacturers.

By Paying for the license to use real car models in their games, developers are effectively funding car manufacturers.

Guns are items designed to hurt and kill people. Cars are not explicitly designed for that purpose. I figured that point was implicit in my comment, but since both of you apparently needed the clarification, there you are.

Online
Edited by mutha3

Everyone plays FE like that, scoops.  You turn on permadeath so that you can make that consideration when the unit does die "do I like this unit/are they valuable enough that I should restart?". Without permadeath, the only way to lose a battle would be if all your units got wiped out. With permadeath, however, losing a unit can be a crippling blow to your playthrough that forces a restart.
 
@endaround said:


@Hailinel said:

@Pixeldemon said:

Patrick, the method you've used in Fire Emblem is more widely know as "save scumming". I think you are entitled to do whatever you want in a single-player game, but sometimes embracing a game's punishment ends up being more fun :).

However, for a permadeath-based game to work, it needs to give you a chance to recover. I have no idea if Fire Emblem does this.

It does, in that Fire Emblem games continually present the player with new units, sometimes up to the very last chapter. The trade-off comes in the fact that units that join later aren't necessarily going to be as strong as units you've been nurturing from the early stages, and they'll have less time to develop.

Except often times the number of healers or mages Fire Emblem has given you is rather small so losing them can often just strand you at some point.

Also, you might just not like the replacements.
Posted by probablytuna

A lot to read, thanks!

Posted by MichaelBach

Don't see the difference between playing it on casual or playing on normal and just shutting off the game and loading a save. Both circumvents the permadeath. Better just play it on casual and avoid having to turn off the game all the time.

Posted by Antithesis

@Hailinel: The implicit design of something has little to do with how it is actually used. I get enjoyment from running a slick ar15 in 3 gun competition the same as a porche gt3 owner gets enjoyment from taking his car out on track days. An irresponsible or unstable person could use my 3 gun rig to hurt or kill people, and irresponsible person in a porche gt3 speeding on a highway could cause an accident and hurt or kill people.

Posted by Gold_Skulltulla

Glad to see Parkin's piece for Eurogamer listed prominently here. Phenomenal article.

Posted by Juiceboxxx

I think the link to the XNA story is wrong. It sends me to the story you mentioned above it about Zynga. And the bulletpoint story about Zynga sends me to the Giant bomb database link of that person.

Just a heads up.

Edited by mutha3
@MichaelBach said:

Don't see the difference between playing it on casual or playing on normal and just shutting off the game and loading a save. Both circumvents the permadeath. Better just play it on casual and avoid having to turn off the game all the time.

There are no mid-battle game saves on permadeath.
 
 
@Antithesis said:

@Hailinel: The implicit design of something has little to do with how it is actually used. I get enjoyment from running a slick ar15 in 3 gun competition the same as a porche gt3 owner gets enjoyment from taking his car out on track days. An irresponsible or unstable person could use my 3 gun rig to hurt or kill people, and irresponsible person in a porche gt3 speeding on a highway could cause an accident and hurt or kill people.


Luckily, driver's licenses exist, eh?
Posted by Brodehouse

@Hailinel said:

@Brodehouse said:

@Hailinel said:

@Dezztroy said:

What's so different about real guns appearing in games compared to, say, real cars?

By paying for the license to use real gun models in their games, developers are effectively funding weapons manufacturers.

By paying for the license to use real car models in their games, developers are effectively funding vehicle manufacturers.

@Antithesis said:

@Hailinel said:

@Dezztroy said:

What's so different about real guns appearing in games compared to, say, real cars?

By paying for the license to use real gun models in their games, developers are effectively funding weapons manufacturers.

By Paying for the license to use real car models in their games, developers are effectively funding car manufacturers.

Guns are items designed to hurt and kill people. Cars are not explicitly designed for that purpose. I figured that point was implicit in my comment, but since both of you apparently needed the clarification, there you are.

That doesn't change anything. Guns are items that are legally salable to adults in America and other Western countries. They're legal to buy, possess, sell and manufacture. There is no moral quotient to the sale or manufacture of legal consumer goods to adults. Trying to say there is one, and that 'it disturbs me' is nothing less than the obsequious moralizing and soft-handed censorship that already has a half-dozen legal industries ghettoized.

Online
Posted by Hailinel

@Antithesis said:

@Hailinel: The implicit design of something has little to do with how it is actually used. I get enjoyment from running a slick ar15 in 3 gun competition the same as a porche gt3 owner gets enjoyment from taking his car out on track days. An irresponsible or unstable person could use my 3 gun rig to hurt or kill people, and irresponsible person in a porche gt3 speeding on a highway could cause an accident and hurt or kill people.

A responsible driver won't kill anyone by driving their car unless there is an accident. A responsible gun owner could still injure or kill, based on the nature of their occupation.

While it might seem farfetched, it's not impossible for someone to be against the idea of funding a gun manufacturer with their own money (where profits go to the publisher/developer that licensed the rights to the models) while also buying and playing video games that prominently feature gun use.

Online
Posted by Reisz

Thanks for having this ready so reliably patrick,

Posted by posh

yeah i posted a thread about that eurogamer article and the giant bomb nazi squad did not like it one bit

Posted by CastroCasper

That Zelda speedrun was mind blowing. All the thought and time that went into breaking the game in that specific way and the fact that it can be broken that way, is pretty nuts.

Posted by Video_Game_King

And I guess I'll have to read the intro four to five months from now.

@Flappy said:

I believe it's safe to say that this is the mindset of the average Fire Emblem player. If a character is lost, curse the RNG, reset the level and learn from your mistakes. I consider it a form of learning.

Except for this. This is the correct way to play Fire Emblem. If you're feeling particularly saucy, you can abuse the RNG to get the bests stats per level up.

Edited by Antithesis

@Hailinel said:

@Antithesis said:

@Hailinel: The implicit design of something has little to do with how it is actually used. I get enjoyment from running a slick ar15 in 3 gun competition the same as a porche gt3 owner gets enjoyment from taking his car out on track days. An irresponsible or unstable person could use my 3 gun rig to hurt or kill people, and irresponsible person in a porche gt3 speeding on a highway could cause an accident and hurt or kill people.

A responsible driver won't kill anyone by driving their car unless there is an accident. A responsible gun owner could still injure or kill, based on the nature of their occupation.

While it might seem farfetched, it's not impossible for someone to be against the idea of funding a gun manufacturer with their own money (where profits go to the publisher/developer that licensed the rights to the models) while also buying and playing video games that prominently feature gun use.

I can understand not wanting your money to go to a weapons manufacturer if you aren't into the whole gun thing. People just need to realize that licenses for firearms are the same as licenses for anything else, some money has changed hands to have that thing appear in a game.

Posted by Brodehouse

@posh said:

yeah i posted a thread about that eurogamer article and the giant bomb nazi squad did not like it one bit

46 posts to Godwin. Uh-mazing.

Online
Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King said:

And I guess I'll have to read the intro four to five months from now.

@Flappy said:

I believe it's safe to say that this is the mindset of the average Fire Emblem player. If a character is lost, curse the RNG, reset the level and learn from your mistakes. I consider it a form of learning.

Except for this. This is the correct way to play Fire Emblem. If you're feeling particularly saucy, you can abuse the RNG to get the bests stats per level up.

If by "saucy," you mean "obsessive compulsive." :P

Also, did anyone here bother to clarify to Patrick that RNG means random number generation in case he might be confused by all of this talk about range?

Online