On the matter of Activision and culture

 Read today at Destructoid that a PR rep from Activision thinks that their current alignment in the eyes of gamers as "Chaotic Evil" or "Lawful Evil" (which is a debate in it self) is unjust and fleeting. This is ordinary, it's PR after all, however what some of the comments said made me a bit sad:

Let's look at two arguments, the first one we can call the "making-money-is-a-goal-duh" argument. The second we will call the "I-don't-care-I-buy games-regardless-of-where-they-come-from."

The latter one we can more or less dissmiss since it is a statment about preferens or personal shopping habits - which is can be challenged by other issues however, the first argument can be a game ender in the eyes of some:

It is true, a corporation is a entity that aims to make money for its shareholders. It's also true that this statment is redudant. We have many examples of corporations that actively earn money, develop expensive and great games and also hold great respect in the communties that flurish around them. What people essentially forget is that gaming, as business mind you, is very much embedded in the culture that also (forgive the following word) consumes it. You can, and some do, make extremly medicore or bland games that make some profit, but the great games that both become legend and make shareholders cum are products of this relationship.

Mind you, this is not an absolut rule or something like that. This is merley a finger pointed at something people forget, both gamers and developers. It is a mutual relationship: don't take gamers as idiots and for gamers: support the people that make the games you love.

Blink, and you might say this is some "doe-eyes bullshit" but think: games have interesting place in culture. They are unlike movies, music, books, theater and art - each that in it self has a very specific culture that nurtures, produces and feedback on it self to make new things. The diffrence, however is that gaming culture is so very closley connected, both historicly and presently, to the production of games.

This is why Activision's activties and statements, as a large publisher and owner of studios, are hurtful. It damages this relationship. It is fine to state that it is their mission to make as much money as they can and they a free to do so, but to state that this is somehow the very essence of the problem? That is plainly wrong. They have gone against whatever "bounds" or rules the relationship, the embedded culture, have. Utltimatley if this will define their bid for redemption or the change in gaming culture, I can not know.

If this is hard to understand, there are many likewise "unstated" rules in other cultural settings: 

Just because you can smoke at bus stop doesn't mean you should.
Just because you can wear a dress of pink, stuffed animals on the streets of Paris, doesn't mean you should.

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Of the most perverse nature.

Playing Prototype? Spoilers ahead...


I have been for the last hour struggling with the most obscene of battles - a Prototype boss fight. It got the standard mix of being big, having special attacks and sub-sections you need to destroy before being able to attack the "core" itself. The crux of the matter is that the Q&A division over at Activision & Radical seems be either composed of super humans, wrought from some parallel dimension, ghost hackers, retarded people or simply were a sleep during the process.
I will explain. A boss battle in Prototype consists of you (Alex Mercer) a weapon of mass destruction, in and of him self, the boss, his buddies (which re-spawns constantly) and the full force of the US military (which re-spawns constantly). Killing bastard boss ranges from hard to annoying - based on the number of cheap attacks it has, however you are completely fucked despite this since every other unit is attempting to kill you.

The bulk of your powers are close combat powers of awesome pedigree, yet to be able to beat the boss, you need to be at range since if you stand still long enough to make a attack, you are raped by Hunters, the Boss and every dude with a missile launcher in the neighborhood.

At this point, I am about to throw my controller out of the window, go out on the porch and pout while having a smoke, pondering what kind of human being, nay, super human, is able to release this... 

I will judge this promptly in a forthcoming review... Hopefully without having a stroke.
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Finished the Last Remnant...

... and what did I get? Not even a god damn achievement! (first blog post on giantbomb - weee!)

I wrote this on Destructoid last year I think, but I find this game strange. It is compelling for two reasons: it tries to innovate and that it feels like they have created a complex enough world so it warrants exploration. What goes wonkers however is just the same two reasons: they try to innovate but it ends with you screaming like a girl since you no longer have any real control over the battle system. And for the second reason, the world is well made and interesting but they don't do enough to explore it beyond monster slaying and trivial quests.

I feel I should have a fucking medal for actually finishing the game. It has been ages since I have played a game that is so sadistic hard for no reason at all.

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