Sony and Whistle Blowing

That Sony meeting was pretty great, wasn't it? I'm not being sarcastic, I genuinely enjoyed it. The bomb crew could've talked a little less, but hey, they're paid and conditioned to talk on camera. At least they offered helpful insights and humor to things I would've missed if I watched it alone.

Awesome system talk aside, that's not why I'm here. While furiously tweeting about the meeting as it was happening, I was in a state of elation. This is the first generation switch I've actually participated in, and I was excited. Everything about the PS4 seemed so cool and neat, and I, in my naivety, thought most of the world was sharing in my joy.

Fatefully, after the meeting ended, I saw #PS4 trending on Twitter. Now, I know the internet can be a dreadful place, but certainly not now, right? Yes, there will be haters, but they are easily ignored and even easier to forget. I clicked that link.

Oh, the mistake I made.

Pictured below is the very first tweet I saw, one that brought down my joy and quickly turned it into frustration.

Oh, sexism! Time to sound the horn!

Now, a little background on me. I'm not a sexist. Well, maybe I am according to some people, but I don't think I am. I try to treat everyone equally. I hold the door open for anyone behind me, I say "excuse me" when walking past them, and I'll tip between 18-20%, regardless of the server (assuming they did nothing special).

Knowing all that, we can proceed. I'm all for fighting sexism, but this is a perfect example, I think, of going too far. This tweet, while one of the only ones I saw, is part of the problem: Everything at all times must be equally represented or else be accused of prejudice.

Like I said, though, that was the only one I saw regarding sexism, so I didn't pay attention to it. Of course, this is the internet, nothing is ever a one off issue, as proved by Kotaku writing an article about the very same thing not even 3 hours later.

Apparently, not having women at a conference is sexist. I, for one, think this is the purist definition of sensationalism: Making an issue out of something that doesn't need to be an issue. There are plenty of battles to fight, we don't need fabricated sexism as well.

Was it an all male cast at the Meeting? Yes, but was it to discriminate against women? Not in the least. The people Sony brought out were top men in their respective departments. Top. Men. If anyone knew what they were talking about when pitching their new game or technology to the public, it was them.

An analogy would be interviewing an assistant director from a movie just because they are an underrepresented minority. The head producer of the movie is all ready to talk about what you want to hear, but no, they are a white male, talking to them would be sexist.

The final point is this, if I may be as alarmist as Kotaku: How will this affect our view of sexism? If we constantly blow the whistle at any part where women are not/under represented, will we really solve this issue, or will we stop caring?

Which is worse, ignorance or apathy?

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The Walking Dead and Desensitization

Hey, this blog post, if you couldn't tell, will be about The Walking Dead, specifically Telltale's version, and more specifically, episode 4. If you don't want to get spoiled, leave now.

Seriously, I'm not even going to use spoiler tags, because this should be plenty of a warning for you. I'm adding all of this preface so even if you DO click on this blog post, you would have to scroll down to actually be spoiled. See? I'm thinking about you.

Okay, last chance. If you don't want to be spoiled about The Walking Dead, click these yellow words!

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I know it's dumb of me to actually think that people would read this blog post at all (they have much better ways to waste their time), but that doesn't mean I can forgo common courtesy. Anyways, I played The Walking Dead: Episode 4 a month ago, and I've been wanting to put these thoughts down in writing for a while now.

It was a fantastic episode, as usual. My normally apathetic and unemotional self felt a myriad of things during the course, like anger at Ben when he took off without Clementine, pity for Kenny when he found the child in the attic, regret for Chuck, and I was deeply grateful for Vernon's help. There were a few too many shooting sequences in it (By the way, where did Lee get that infinite ammo gun?), but that's a moot point.

What I really came here to talk about was Ben's death. Yes, this means I let him go. Yes, I fully accept that fact that what I did was wrong, and I am now a murderer. But here's the thing: I don't feel bad about it.

It started back in episode 3. We all know how much of a roller coaster ride that was. From Carley/Doug's impromptu death to Duck slowly fading before our eyes, it was an emotional episode. I'd like to think that, because I was under so much sadness, I was more forgiving of Ben when he admitted to stealing supplies for the bandits. Of course, I told him to never tell Kenny EVER, and he agreed. After that episode, however, I guess I changed. Don't assume some life changing thing happened to me in real life between episodes 3 and 4, either. My life is as dull and boring as you imagine it, possibly even more so. Nothing eventful happens, ever, but I digress.

When episode 4 started, Ben continuously showed incompetence, and Kenny was beginning to get on my nerves as well. Everything was falling apart, and none of my conversation choices were making anything better. My frustration with the group eventually culminated with me....killing Ben. Totally on purpose. Now, I'm not about to justify what I did, but I just want to put my thought process down for....whatever reason.

I felt like I was losing control of the group, and then I lost Clementine because Ben can't keep an eye on anybody, and he thinks that hammer stuck in the door just happened to be there for no specific reason. Then, I know he was feeling guilty about what he had done in episode 3, but he picked the absolute worst time to come clean. We were in immediate danger. I understand not wanting to die with regrets, but if he had just helped Kenny with the door instead of standing there announcing what he did, maybe things would have been different.

Then the run up the staircase happened, and Ben was grabbed and almost pulled off. With Lee hanging on by the tiniest bit, Ben utters the words that completely flipped the script on me and my moral compass went bleeping everywhere.

"Just let me go." He said, defeated. This high school kid had already accepted that his death was imminent, and he had accepted it.

All throughout my life, I've had some pretty crazy scenarios come up in my head. I'm sure that's a common thing. Things like "What if I could run up the side of that building?" or "What if those group of kids came up and started harassing me? I'd sure love to tell them off" or "What if someone broke into my house?" You get the idea: I waste my life enough on video games, but I also daydream a lot.

Anyway, one of the scenarios I come up with is "What if someone I love/care for, what if their life, falls into my hands, and they want me to end it?" For every other daydream, I have an answer to, a plan, but not this one. It's so gray. There is no right answer, but every answer seems and feels wrong whenever I consider it.

  • If I respect and honor their wish, I have to end the life of that person. Not only will I have to commit murder (but is it murder if they ask for it?), but I have to live the rest of my life without them, knowing that they could still be by my side if I had said no.
  • If I refuse and rescue them, we could both end up getting killed (situational), which I'm sure is exactly what they wanted to prevent. If we both survive, they have to live with the guilt of either 1) Being alive when they don't want to be, or 2) Showing their lack of faith in me and my ability to save them, or maybe a combination of the 2.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with Ben, and I realize he's a video game character, but that's the brilliancy of The Walking Dead: It's not just about saving this character's life: it brought me to that one scenario I never had an answer to, and forced me to choose in the span of seconds, which is exactly how that situation would come about. All that thinking, all of those "What ifs," all of that meant nothing, because when it came right down to it, my mind blanked, and I did absolutely nothing but quickly dart my eyes between the two options, my thumb shaking over the buttons.

You know how this ends. Obviously I chose to let him go. I gave him what he asked for, and now I have to go the route of the first bullet point.

How does desensitization come into play, you ask? Look at everything I just wrote. Against my own will, I am going above and beyond to try and justify myself. Even though I already said it wouldn't, when the thoughts enters my head, a little voice interrupts, saying "This was for the good of the group" or "He caused more than one person's death." This little voice was not even present in the first three episodes, because I was a good guy, and if the zombie apocalypse was going to take me, I would go out a good guy. I didn't take the car supplies in episode 2, I shot the girl in episode 3, and I let Kenny and Katjaa choose who would be the one to end Duck's misery.

But now...now what am I? I had the power to save Ben, and I let him go instead. Am I finally starting to devalue human life? Organize every person into objective pros and cons and not what they mean to others?

Most importantly, if this is a road I'm heading down, how can I stop? When the apocalypse hits (in whatever form it takes), can I be trusted to protect others, even if they are strangers? Will I be able to? ....Will I even want to?

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The Dishwasher and Self-Therapy

As it probably says on my little timeline thing, I beat The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile on Samurai (aka Very Hard mode) last night, because of, you guessed it, the achievement. I love those things.

It wasn't too bad, honestly. This game is one of the few where hard mode isn't just "You do less damage while your enemies do more," it actually did change up....to a point. No new enemy types or AI was added, but they definitely threw the tougher enemies at you right away, and the fights were often longer, mostly because I spent most time dashing away from the onslaught of swords, chainsaws, and shotgun blasts coming my way.

But seriously, screw those chainsaw guys.

Did I die quite a bit? Absolutely, I'm not a great gamer to begin with, and a game like Vampire Smile requires some pretty good response time and hand eye coordination.

On to my point of this blog: While hacking people/robots apart/cutting their heads off with giant scissors (Yeah, I played as The Dishwasher, but I'll go again to play as Yuki)/smashing their heads in with a massive hammer, I felt really good. Like, really, really good, like a weight of stress and feelings were lifted off my shoulders when playing this game, and I felt very relaxed.

To those of you who've never seen a Dishwasher game before, go ahead real quick and just watch a trailer of it. No, don't want to? Okay, then let me give you a nutshell version of what it is:

  • Hack 'n' Slash
  • Bloody and gory as can be
  • Violent to an almost unsettling extreme
  • Seriously, blood just everywhere
  • Fast paced, action that could overwhelm you

When The Dishwasher or Yuki pulls off a finishing move (particularly when The Dishwasher slams the enemy's head against a wall or the floor), it feels really good. It feels great to press that B button and watch that action unfold. I have no idea why, either. Should I be concerned about such happiness over such a violent act? Maybe, but I know the line between fantasy and reality. I know I can't smash a person's head into a wall and their head will pop like a blood-filled pimple.

Maybe this is why I play video games. No, wait, this is exactly why I play video games, to escape reality and enter a world where what I did or didn't do has no weight, or value. Where I can just let go of reality for a time being and do what I set out to do, be that save the galaxy, save the world, rescue people from TV, or just plain murder everyone ever.

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Take Away the Game, and Only the R Remains

So, I said I'd be updating my blog on a regular basis, and then I don't do it. Go me.

I'm going to try and get back into it, for two reasons:

  1. I don't talk enough to know how to formulate my thoughts into words in real time. This lets me edit and take my time to say stuff.
  2. I was told to keep writing, because it'll make me better at writing. That's logical enough.

School has started, and it's just like everyone expects. There's reading, writing, group assignments, tests, and group projects. But, I guess I've fallen into this existential life crisis where I don't know what the hell I'm good at, or even here on earth for.

All my life, I've defined/labeled myself as a gamer. That's just the perfect word to describe me. I love playing video games, talking about video games, and hearing about video games. Yes, I have other interests, but video games is #1 in terms of my favorite hobbies.

Now, besides being the worst thing to put on a profile in the "About Me" section, I'm starting to see that maybe I've invested too much time into video games. I've heard plenty stories about people's summer trips and things they did. People went around the country, they went to Europe, they learned to play guitar, they won a dumb contest, they got an internship, etc. and so forth. When I am asked the open ended "What did you do in the summer?" question, the only answer I can come up with is "I worked." That's it, and it's not a lie. I just worked and stayed home and played video games. Occasionally I'd go to a friend's house and do the same thing. I didn't go skydiving, I didn't go out of state (I don't even think I went out of county), I didn't even see The Avengers.

Sounds pretty sad, right? I think so too. So I'm thinking of what else I'm interested in, what else makes me me, and then it hit me: There isn't anything special thing about me outside of video games. Outside of that digital entertainment, I'm the world's least interesting person. Every thought process, habit, speech pattern, sense of humor, everything about me is derived from some video game or another. For example:

  • I drink Orange Juice because Ethan Mars does so in the beginning of Heavy Rain, and that game affected me so much, so I took after it.
  • I prefer sprinting over long distance because Sonic the Hedgehog can go really fast in a really short amount of time.
  • Every conversation I have with people I don't know, I can almost literally see a timed response (From The Walking Dead games) system pop up every time I could respond, but I mainly stay silent unless spoken to directly. Why? Because Silent Protagonist in many early games, that's why.
  • I see every relationship I do have as a Social Link.

You see the picture? I'm a bunch of video game tropes personified, and it's not good. Now I'm having thoughts about stuff like regret for not having a true school experience and crap like that. But how am I supposed to have said experience if I don't even know what I like? As I said, if it's not video games, I'm generally not interested. Don't get me started on talking with girls (Maybe I should take some advice from Don't Be Nervous Talking to Girls) and trying to have a love life.

So....that's about where I am now in life. I'm worried about letting life pass me by, but too afraid to go out and live life, because I don't know what that means and what I want out of it. Will I ever get out of this self-destruction circle?

Probably not.

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Gamer Is Universal

Well, I'm a curious guy. I often look at things and wonder why it's happening when something better is already here. Let me explain.

There's been this thing going around the site, that kickstarter for the convention that's LGBT friendly. That is not what I have a problem with. Let me just take this time to say the following:

  • I have nothing against anybody.
  • Sexual orientation does not matter to me. If you're gay, great. If you're straight, fantastic. Let's throw a party for both of you.

Okay, I feel a little bit better. Anyway, this convention added a new word to the ever growing, ever changing English language. Gaymer.

Gaymer.....obviously a play on the word gamer, to bring to light that they are part of the LGBT community, and also play video games. It's a pun, and one I really dislike. From here on out in this entry, I'm also lumping "Girl Gamer" in with this "Gaymer" term.

So let's take a look at what the definition is for the word "Gamer." It's sort of a slang word, so defining it will be difficult since there's no official....wait a second, here's an official definition of the word "Gamer."

Even the Wikipedia (credible source!) entry for "Gamer" defines it in the first sentence. So here it is, the official definition of "Gamer."

gam·er

[gey-mer]

noun

a person who plays games, especially computer or video games.

What's my problem, you ask? It's right there in your face, but hear me out.

Gamer, as defined, is a unisex term. It's a universal term, everybody can use it. Everybody can be called one, and define themselves as one. There really is no reason to add a pun or adjective to this term, because it literally is a catch-all. Let's even get super specific and define what a "person" is, because I don't want anything to be left to guessing.

per·son

[pur-suhn]

noun

a human being, whether man, woman, or child

A human being, says the definition! If you are a human being, and if you're a girl, guy, gay, straight, white, brown, black, yellow, all of the above, you are, then congratulations! You are eligible to be called gamer.

I wonder what the point of these other terms are. For example, "Girl Gamer." I'm afraid I can only speculate as to why it's necessary to point out that you have ovaries and play video games. Must I really know that you have two X chromosomes and no Y? I would love to find out why some girls empower themselves with that title, as if it's rare that they exist (it's not), and they should be....I don't know. What's the end goal of calling yourself a "Girl Gamer?"

Same with Gaymer. I don't need to know which gender you prefer, I just need you to capture that dang flag. Nor do I ponder whether or not you're straight just like me, I'm actually wondering why you went left when I went right.

I should point out that I am not standing from a pedestal casting down judgement upon all that use these terms, and other terms that I didn't list. I merely express a curiosity as to why these are necessary, when the term "Gamer" includes us all.

Let there be no walls, no word play, no adjectives before or after the word. Keep it simple, keep it sweet.

You are gamers, I am a gamer. We all love video games.

We are gamers.

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Do Our Skills Peak Early?

So, I bought Sonic Adventure (Whoops, I meant Sonic Adventure, since all the cool people have yellow text in their blogs) on the Xbox Live Marketplace today. It was only 800 Points, and out of my 1880, I felt I had to. I remember Sonic Adventure and it's sequel a lot. I played the crap out of it when I was a tween. It was a magical game, and there was so much to do with it. Every character was unique, and Chao were(are) adorable. Raising them was better than any Tamogotchi.

Anyway, it downloaded fast, being only 1.6 GB, and after a Quick Look of a Steam game I'll never buy (I can see why people do this all the time), I started Sonic Adventure and was greeted by a truck-carrying train full of nostalgia as the familiar rock tunes invaded my ears. Almost a minute later, I was playing as the almighty Sonic the Hedgehog and zooming down a beach to rescue my friend.

As I listened to the familiar tunes and sounds of yesterdecade, I realized something. I was getting caught on walls that I don't remember getting caught on, hitting enemies when I know I shouldn't have, and missing ring boxes that seemed pretty simple to get. I chalked some of it up to "Well, this is a port" logic, but still, something didn't set right, and then the memories came flooding in.

By no means am I claiming to be a good gamer, because I'm not. I'm far from an average gamer. I die a lot, don't get super S ranks all the time, etc. and so on. However, I've noticed that the first time I play through a game, I play it the best, and every time after, I get worse and worse. I use Bayonetta as my prime example. The first time I played through the story, on Normal, with little knowledge, skill, and weapons, I did fairly well, I managed a Silver on most levels. Going through the game again a couple of weeks later, my time had improved significantly in every stage, but my actual score had gone way down. I even missed a lot more battles than I did the first time going through it.

I think the Uncharted Series also reminds me of this. I played Uncharted 1 and 2 pretty regularly, and beat them with relative ease. The first half of Uncharted 3 was also the same story, it was tough, but doable. However, I quit for some reason, and the series left open for months. I came back just last month or so and started a new game, but man, it was a lot tougher this time around. I was constantly frustrated by the enemies and gun play. I tried blaming the game, but we know the truth, I had sucked hard at it.

The fact that this has happened more than once makes me wonder: Am I at my best when I play the game the first time, not having full knowledge of the mechanics and tricks? Why is it like that? It seems backwards...I sometimes wonder if anyone else has the same "problem" as me (This is ironic, given that that ending phrase would be considered a response prompt, but seeing as nobody is (rightfully) following me and this won't be linked to any pages or forums, there's no discussion. It's just a sad, below average skilled gamer lamenting his waning skill).

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Consistency, what?

I close Saturday nights. That means from 4 PM to 12:30 AM, I'm stuck in a small building doing something (thankfully my mind erases it for me) until I'm done, then I come home. By then, it's 1AM. I'm not tired, but it's way too late to get into some serious gaming. So, instead of just sitting here staring at nothing, I figured I'd finally put the time toward something I've always wanted to do: blog.

I really have no idea why I want to blog. There's nobody who wants to hear my thoughts on anything, especially on this site, nor do I have anything interesting to say. But knowing that, I'm still compelled to just write about stuff, plus, I think there's a quest associated with blogging? Anyway, what kind of stuff? Heck if I know. I've read some blogs on this video game site that are quite the opposite, so what I write about is whatever I feel like writing about.

I guess now is where I add the disclaimer. Ahem.....ATTENTION: Under no circumstances do I have any knowledge of what I'm writing about ever. I know nothing about the topic at hand, and am, at best, pulling everything I say out of my hat. To assume I have even the most basic knowledge of (insert topic here), you are setting yourself up for some extreme disappointment.

Well, that being said, if you've found yourself immeasurably bored and wish to entertain yourself with the ramblings of the stupid, or just want to make yourself feel better about yourself through someone's misfortunes, read on.

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What Do I Blog About?

I was never one for writing blogs. It's just....too free, too open. I need a set of rules, dangit!

Maybe I'll blog about video games....oh, yeah, that's pretty original, especially on a site like this. Oh, well, this is the first blog in hopefully a long line of them, about things that people would like to read...or that I would like to write about....which one should I be more concerned with?

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