Smoking with a purpose?

I won't claim to be some sort of expert; I'm sorry in advance it any Giantbomb users are smokers themselves and take offensive. However, smoking seems pointless, expensive and all round stupid. I realise it's addictive but you know that’s been well documented for some years now. Maybe I'm just bitter when I bought a second hand Dreamcast only to find the console tainted yellow from cigs and the pads greasy and no amount of cleaning every seemed to get rid of it, but enough with the babble to the point at hand.  
 
Smoking seemed cool, when I was 11, times have changed and I would like to believe that gaming and smoking have no connection. Yet it came to my attention that doesn't really see it that way. It is a very common thing to smoke in you can't go very far without finding a vending machine that sells them. I don't know the reasons behind it, I just know playing in the arcades was a rotten experience (I forgot to mention I had asthma) I love fighting games so when I got the chance to play them in their natural environment I put up with the pain for the sake of it. 
 
I recently noticed that very few types of media in this day in age promote or display smoking. Hell didn't avatar get some grief for Sigourney Weaver smoking so much? Yet in Japanese games cigarettes are not only a frequent tool to make a character look cool, but also are a usable and useful item. 
 
 

Damn Snake you been holding out on me

My first experience of smoking in videogames started with Metal Gear Solid. Snake could equip a pack of cigarettes that when I first used seem to serve no purpose other than to slowly drain your health. I think that would have been a good statement, it was only when either a friend or the game itself suggested that I use the smoke to see infrared beams, and then even steady your aim with scoped weapons. So doesn't this put a purpose to an otherwise (at least in real life) useless and potentially deadly item?   
 


 

 
  
I'll be honest though most of the examples I've got aren't meant for the younger gamers, most if not all have 15-18+ ratings so a more influenced generation won't be hypnotised into thinking cigarettes have any purpose beyond none. 
 

Time just flies by, right Zach?

Next up Deadly Premonition, a recent Japanese game but shares the use of cigarettes without hardly any negative. uses cigs to pass time and in a game where a great deal of side quests and storyline missions are based around being somewhere at the correct time these are a handy item. Again 18+ rating. 
 
Another example a game I played and enjoyed deeply but found the casual smoking kind of off putting. Vanquish our hero Sam sparks up a great deal during his conquest of the Russian spaceship/weapon of mass destruction. Hell in the future I guess cigarettes cost next to nothing since the act of smoking it put to the use of a single button, and Sam tosses the aside in order to distract his foes, again making smoking look useful. 
  
 

 

 

I can't stay mad at you :)

 Here is a classic for you, Final Fantasy 7, Cid smokes a cigarette. I don't believe it is every mentioned and your attention is never really drawn to it. I don't mind making no big deal of smoking, its a common site (especially for Japanese) however his limit break Dynamite he uses his lit cigarette to light a stick of Dynamite and throws it at the enemy. You have no control of this in reality but again making smoking look useful without any of the glaring cons to the habit. 
 
I'm sure there are plenty of other examples out there. Its not just , one of my favourite games Bioshock (and System Shock 2) has smoking as useable items but both of these examples give you a pro and a negative. Mana energy or Eve at the cost of health. While my Japanese examples don't really seem to offer a negative.  

So what's my point, to be fair I don't know if I have one. Most adults can make decisions on their own videogames aren't really going to change that. I just think it’s a shame that in a country and culture that I respect and admire very deeply that smoking is kind of just another thing. Drug abuse never seems to be an issue at least not any that I've heard (again I'm no expert) I just wish it they would ban smoking in arcades.

 

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Regret, Shame and Apathy (For record)

Regret, Shame and Apathy

Regret

Valkyria Chronicles   (PS3): I was so incredibly happy to hear this game was getting a European release and once the demo got released on PSN I played it over and over. I loved the visuals the design and when I finally got it, even the characters (say what you will about how generic they are and how bad the voice acting I love it anyway). Early on I found a few things starting to bug me, limited amount of moves, the fact the odds were always staked so high against you, storyline wise it made sense but when you make a mistake early and pay dearly later on bah! I’ve played Disgaea so I thought grinding a few levels would make it a bit less punishing, but when I’m firing rockets that miss over and over I just couldn’t take it. I threw in the towel and one day maybe I’ll return I would love to see some other spin offs maybe in another genre who knows.

Shame

Castlevania Order of Ecclesia (DS): Starting from the of the Moon I connected to this series of handheld Castlevania games like a house on fire. I was a little disappointed with Dawn of Sorrow but I had high hopes for this game not to mention playing as a cool female in a Castlevania seemed like it couldn’t fail and it didn’t. It’s a brilliant game, but returned to an era of Castlevania that I wasn’t aware or privy to the more hardcore difficultly. Feel free to say “you just suck” or “you’re not playing it right” I would throw up some gaming credentials but there isn’t any need, I kept getting stuck, I love learning boss patterns but the final straw was the boss I will call Shadow Puppet, I couldn’t see it through. Perhaps when I get a 3DS maybe I’ll seek this gem out. By now I’m sure there are plenty of FAQs to see me through it.

Apathy

Disgaea 2 (PS2): I don’t need to draw out this one. I played Disgaea 1 too death, followed by Phantom Brave and then Makai Kingdoms so by the time I reached this game maybe my turn based RPG love had been burned out. Not helped by a cast of characters that didn’t hold a candle to the original cast, so much so they gave you Etna almost admitting how uninteresting the new crew was. The levels were more about the puzzle solving and less about strategy which you could argue was the same for all in the series but I put it down never to return.

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Yet another opinion

Lightning was my favourite part of 13, she was smart strong, and sexy (without showing too much flesh, Lulu Tifa I’m looking at you) also she didn’t have amnesia which is always a plus. She was also flawed and was honest to admit mistakes. I was hoping the lead character being female in Final Fantasy Lightning would perhaps create a trend among other big JRPGs namely the Tales series but that doesn’t seem to have caught on which is a shame since I’ve played male characters plenty of times in RPGs already.

I enjoyed that the love of her sister was what drove her and I look forward to seeing what will drive her actions in this sequel.    
 
And I stick by this comment

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Pokemon and Facebook

Anyone ever notice how similar these two are?  
Pokemon: collect 100s of pocket monsters, you only use the team which works the best or you like the look of 
Facebook: collect 100s of "friends" but communicate with only your best friends or the onces you like the look of 
  
I don't have a Facebook page, and I haven't played a Pokemon game since Red and Blue so maybe I've no right to comment, but still can't shake the feeling.  
Also though this sounds deadly serious it is anything but ya all have fun now you hear.

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The crying game

   Its been a some time now that I have connected emotionally to a character......in television and film, on the other hand video games have been making me cry this year and though some might call me a baby for doing so, or less of a man because of it, but to hell with it. Like watching a scary movie and actively seeking to be scared or unnerved I really like a story or character that would effect me so much. So in any case here’s two main game which have been upsetting little old me as of late (back in the madness which was 2010) 
 
Fragile Dreams    

PAL box

Though I thought my days of playing games on the Wii were over I'm glad I took a gamble on this gem of a game. I could talk about the roughness and flawed aspects of this game but there are plenty of places to read about them. All I will say is bravo to the English voice cast in a time where very few Japanese games seem to have a great deal of care brought to their localisation in the west the team here went above and beyond. It’s in no small part that I was affected so much but the plight of the main character Seto as the vocal work was so moving. Though through and through this game is just sadness and loneliness personified it’s a must play on the Wii.  
I don't want to spoil anything but an early chapter end made me cry like a baby, people die in games all the time but the pace of this scene and the voice acting alone will stay with me long after the Wii is dead and buried (some might say it already is, to them I say.....hey get out) 
 

 
 

Cave Story 

 

 

I've mentioned to a friend and its almost certainly been said before that when I grow to like a character it's usually because due to the simplistic movement and animations my mind ends up filling in the blanks. With the use of imagination even basic sprites become that much more fun to watch in action. My crappy example was always that in Final Fantasy 7 the characters had no facial expressions; everything they were was created using just dialog and very basic gestures. At the end of the day what I imagine Cloud to look and sound like completely differ from others (though the movies have undone this somewhat). Anyway going slightly off topic I'm so glad Cave Story got a European release without it I might never get to experience such a mix of joy and sadness. There is quite a dark vein running through this game and I have no intention of spoiling what made me wipe a tear from my eye. Needless to say characters that have very little screen time made a big impression within this story. 
  
 
Yeah so I'm a big softy when it comes to games, hell feel free to call me out on it. Here’s hoping some more western games will evoke such emotion out of me in 2011 but let’s not hold our breath now.  
 
Also I'd be a lot less upset if I kept leaving Curly Brace to die, I don't wanna use a walkthrough but damn just when I think I did it something goes wrong.

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All that glitters on Wiiware may not be gold (surprise)

Don't like Snow White? Don't Eat!

I'm a sucker for awesome (and somewhat pervy) artwork. Even more so if it’s got some sort of basis in anime (yeah I said it). In preparation for Cave Story I decided to have a quick peek at current Wiiware. A demo of Zombie Panic in Wonderland caught my eye and upon playing it I was sold solid shooting fun and zombies seemed like the perfect combination. The full game has a fair bit going for it. Tons of zombie designs, great destructible environments. It is however bogged down by some very repetitive  music (and I mean reparative take my advice bring your own music) I liked the idea of different playable characters but unfortunately they all play exactly the same. It was a giggle to run through this game and please give the demo a look in but I do feel somewhat burned when I saw the blanked out character selection screen I thought I'd go through multiple times. So once again my love of anime art styling has got the better of me.
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Skullgirls a shameless plug

I should have known better but I've had fighters on the brain. So before I forget I want to mention Skullgirls.... 
 

Greatness and madness often get confused
Way way back when, back when I would browse Deviant art (not anymore way too much fetish on display) I discovered Oh8. His gallery really jumped out at me its a style in and of itself. http://oh8.deviantart.com/    Also he seems to like Dalkstalkers and Odinsphere so I can connect on a gaming apreication there. Anyway, at somepoint last year I believe I saw a call for help creating a new 2d sprite based fighter called Skullgirls. Back then I wasn't very sure it was going to get off the ground. Imagine my surprise when I saw a kotaku article all about it. http://kotaku.com/5685186/this-fighter-is-nothing-but-girl+on+girl-action     
Hell games before it have done a female only rosta, look at Arcana Heart.....well maybe you shouldn't but Skullgirls seems to be shaping up and I look forward to hearing more from the project.  
 
Vanillaware YES!

I'd love to make the giantbomb page but the game isn't out yet so next best thing hype it up on a blog (yeah that'll really change the world). If your a little interested or just like good artwork please check out the website  http://www.skullgirls.com/    

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Damn you snow!


The snow has delayed my copy of Blazblue Continuum Shift. Now all of Europe have 24 hours to get better than me. ha who am I kidding I could have a years head start and still wouldn't be much cop.
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A christmas miracle

According to gamefaqs Cave Story has a release for Wii in Europe do I dare dream it to be true. Or perhaps I should look for the PC version, I wonder. 10th of December could be a Christmas come early for my poor old Wii.
   

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Wait and see

I was just reading a few comments on the new Dante for Ninja Theory's new DMC and man people are still pretty.....well very angry. Part of me doesn't really understand, much like Diablo 3 before it, to get so enraged by something that isn't even out yet, let alone much game play footage. Yet the thought occurred that unlike a lot of media, videogames involve a great deal more time investment and with that time to develop attachment to a character. In a long running TV series if your favourite character was killed off, or the actor changed it is often hard to take, but Dante like a lot of characters in a 3rd person games, devotes the camera almost singly upon them for the entire game. TV and movies will have a star but they need others to interact with and bounce their characteristics back and forth off of. In videogames not only does the player have a direct link via the controller of their new favourite character the interaction is often with enemies and cut scenes, the rest is between the in game character and the player. So I can understand why people feel so connected to Dante, hell I love the series as well. What we love we have gained together with the character through hours and hours of game play (though I am aware DMC 4 had you playing as Nero for a good chunk).  
 
When all is said and done I would rather judge the changes to Dante when the game is released, I will give Ninja Theory the benefit of the doubt (and if Brad said Enslaved is good I'm willing to believe him). Hell, before Bayonetta I thought I was done with 3rd person action games so I say wait and see.

   

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