Dark Souls II reflects Dark Souls' mistakes.

Man, what a way to end a console generation! Dark Souls II is just the perfect game for the PS3/X360 generation to go out in style. I'm probably around 55% in and I've come to some conclusions about the franchise. From the build-systems perspective it seems that with DaS2 it was all about streamlining the in-game systems so they actually make sense this time - playing DaS2 makes you realize how unnecessary confusing some of the systems in the original Dark Souls were. The death of the Fire Keeper, obscure weapon upgrade paths, the whole deal with humanity/kindling/reverse hollowing... It was all unnecessary and in my opinion, poor design. But I would be able to come to this conclusion without playing DaS2. The fact is that those systems in the original were making the game much more frustrating that it was probably supposed to be. I mean, the Fire Keeper died and now I gotta go kill somebody from a specific place and only that place? What, seriously? Humanity, bonfire management, lack of fast travel from the start... all that made DaS more running around wasting time than anything else. It was bullshit.

DaS2, however, is bullshit free, and thank Gwyn for that. Need to level? Warp. Also, the blacksmith is right there. That's what makes the game more playable, more enjoyable, and not at all less difficult. The pointless running around is the original wasn't really part of the famed difficulty, because it had nothing to do with the combat, it was just there... because someone thought it would be nice and challenging, but it completely stole the focus from the core of the game - combat.

In essence, I like everything about DaS2 more than I liked Dark Souls. A real eye-opener, this one, and overall just a better game.

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Perfect People: How to Marry a Video Game

Did you know this guy in Japan actually married a video game? Well, a video game character to be exact. What is your first reaction to this little piece of information? Do you ask yourself if I'm joking or just go WTF from the lack of a more elaborate response to something that seems absurd? It is no joke: a man known as Sal9000 married a character from the insanely popular, Japan-exclusive DS dating sim, Love Plus. This happened two years ago and you probably already knew about it before reading this. However, what you probably don't know is that it didn't stop there, it's an ongoing process. More and more people are doing similar things. And I don't mean listing a character as your girlfriend on Facebook. I mean real, actual devotion to artificial beings. Have you ever wondered why people do that kind of stuff? Or perhaps more to the point, have you ever thought that it's a shame that a certain video game character is not a real person? If you answered yes to either one of these, keep on reading because I'm about to attempt some kind of explanation to all this madness.

First I want you to think about your favorite video game character, protagonist or NPC. Now, they are your favorite because of many things, like their looks, their personalities and abilities, among others obviously. It's no surprise that just like in the movies, they were designed to appeal to people in certain ways. Like my favorite, Geralt of Rivia, from The Witcher games. He may not be the best example as he was actually a book character in the beginning, but I should proceed with him to prove my point. Geralt is a badass. He runs around killing monsters, saving kingdoms, changing the world. A master swordsman, a mage, a hunter. Geralt is kind of like a rock star: all the guys want to be him and all the girls want to... be with him. Of course he was designed in such a way. He is a perfect person.

Geralt's new face - hi-res

In the context of Geralt, what is a perfect person? It's a character whose personality, physical appearance and traits are the result of a study of certain groups of people. Geralt is perfect because he seems to be undefeated, the best of the best, has a great, albeit a bit dark sense of humor, has shiny white hair, manly scars all over his body. He is a textbook example of a badass cool dude. These features alone don't make him, or any other character perfect. Geralt also has flaws. Major flaws. They are there because a player cannot identify with a flawless character. So they (or actually in this case the book author, but never mind that) made him has a weakness for women, making him not so much a stud as a man who is easily manipulated by women. He gets his share of the action, but who comes out on top is never clear until the very last moment. His womanizing is both a sign of his coolness and weakness. Same goes for his constant quest for neutrality. It actually is impossible to be neutral, which makes him an idealist, and this in turn makes him a romantic character. When you break it down like this it's easy to see why he makes such a strong impact on people. It's the incredible detail of personality that makes him so appealing. This is the part, when people can actually feel sorry that he is not a real person. Because who wouldn't want to meet Geralt of Rivia? A nekker probably wouldn't. But they don't socialize that much anyway.

Alright, now for the really important question: what about the women? It's no secret that female characters in games, both playable and NPCs are created in the sexist way to make guys go crazy about them. Maybe it's nothing to be proud of, maybe it's just natural - I'm not here to discuss whether boob physics are a sexist marketing tool or not. I personally enjoy a pair of nicely animated breasts.

Bayonetta by Konachan

I don't know about you, but when I think about a perfect video game girl my mind instantly shouts BAYONETTA! Ah yes, the Japanese stripper/acrobat/witch/everything else. For honesty's sake let's just say it, Bayonetta is in no way a deep character. She barely has any story behind her, but she was not designed to move you. She was made as a treat for those of us that don't need much to be entertained. And all her features make her perfect for that. She has this glamour thing about her, very stylish, talks in sophisticated English with a posh accent and that's the half that's, impressive in a way. But then she has this whole other side, where she's a witch and she dances like a stripper and she makes her potions and shoots things. Super classy plus sleazy equals product sold. But in this case, were not only buying the product. We're buying the character, because it's not the gameplay that will make you buy Bayonetta 2. It's the girl. The gameplay is just like in any other DMC clone. The girl is not. That's the hook. Bayonetta is a perfect person, because she represents things that normally don't go together. She is also a looker, probably designed using the harvested dreams of sleeping teenagers. She's perfect, for certain people, and I'm willing to bet, that many many guys would like to exchange an actual person from their lives for a Bayonetta. And this is exactly my point.

I started out here promising some sort of explanation for the phenomenon of people actually getting emotionally involved with digital characters. The answer is painfully simple: because why not? People did it for decades, falling in love with movie characters. They also did it for centuries with book characters. The thing is, with video games it's so much easier. A player can interact with the character, and if the game is specially designed to be some sort of a simulation of human relationships, do they really control it? Think about it: did Sal9000 wonder how ridiculous his idea of human-computer interface sounds to an average person (especially a westerner)? No, because maybe the whole thing suited him. Just like it suits so many other people who'd rather live in a fantasy of being with a Bayonetta, or a Marcus Fenix or any other video game character designed in part for catering to our more primal needs, than with being with an actual person. They look around and see only people who are so regular, so bleak. When they get offered the chance to spend time with a perfect person, how can they say no? This is probably the reason why some go crazy and take it that one step too far. Then again, who am I to say what's going too far? My personal experiences from the past couple of years make me think being like with an actual human female is taking it too far. I'm probably one of those people more subjectable to the "Love Plus Treatment".

This could go on for pages and pages, and turn into a diatribe about how virtual reality and the simulacrum that it is more and more replace the physical world in our minds, habits and lifestyles... but let's not go there. Let's end this on a positive note saying that everybody has a right to be happy, no matter what their definition of happiness is. Whether it's with a real person, or a digital one, at least they're not alone. I find that oddly comforting. Don't you?

Thanks for reading!

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Gaming in Poland - an article of sorts.

Here's a little something about how gaming looks in Poland - it's a more interesting subject than anyone would think! Some things happen differently in Poland, especially when it comes to digital distribution and respect for copyrights, but we'll get to that. Maybe some of these phenomena are/were common for Central and Eastern Europe, but all of them shaped how gaming in Poland looks now. This still developing country has come a long way.

  • A little history.

The history part is pretty much the same as almost everywhere else. The main difference is scale. Truth be told gaming only just became really big in Poland with the current generation of consoles. Before the 360 and PS3 it was a very obscure, PC-focused niche of entertainment. I think it's fair to say that arcades were the first actual gaming spots in the country. What's interesting is that there were very few arcades in the real sense of the word - mostly they were part of something else, like a strip mall or fun park. Basically what you'd have was an entertainment venue and the arcade cabinets would just happen to be there, pretty much at random. It seems that it took people a lot of time to figure out how to make money on arcades. The owners figured out how to exploit the situation - nobody really knew how much is too much for a game of MK1, so the cabinets were modded: you couldn't insert a coin, you had to exchange money for grooved tokens. The price of a token was entirely up to the manager/owner of the place. It's probable that this was because before 1995 the coins in Poland were pretty much valueless, and you couldn't stuff a bill in the machine. Personally I think it was just greed.

In the early 90s home gaming appeared out of nowhere in the form of Amiga, ZX Spectrum, PC, and NES games. This is where the problems started. There were no game stores. Games were mostly sold in computer/electronics stores, and you can imagine how limited the catalog was because of that. Sadly, not much has changed. Games are now widely available and the catalog is decent, however there are still only a few independent game-only stores in the country. You have to purchase your games at electronics megastores, where nobody knows anything about the games, they're just... there. Additionally, there seems to be absolutely no promotion for anything these days. We all saw how everything looked a week ago when Skyrim came out: huge lines in front of game stores, gadgets, people cosplaying, etc. Well, not in Poland they weren't. Skyrim just magically appeared on the shelves on the 12th (11/11 is a national holiday so stores are closed... imagine the frustration). There were no posters, no ads, nothing. Same goes for most games, except maybe titles like Battlefield or Modern Warfare. Those get a tiny standee. Come to thing about it, the only actual promotion I've ever seen here was for The Witcher 2, which makes sense - it is a Polish game. But I digress.

When talking about video game history in Poland you cannot even begin to understand why people still don't buy a lot of games to this day, without knowing a thing or two about polish piracy, which evolved parallel to gaming itself.

  • Mythical Piracy!

Ever since gaming became a thing in Poland, so let's say the 1980s, people noticed that games cost a lot, don't last very long and are not as good of a waste of time as drinking yourself to death. Piracy in Poland in the 90s was a phenomenon of unparalleled size, I'm sure. hishere are two reasons why: first, the games were and are too expensive for the polish buyer, plain and simple. Second, there were no games in stores. Let me paint you a little picture.

A freshly released console game costs anywhere between 199 - 250 PLN. It's hard to translate this value into US Dollars. An exchange rate calculator will tell you that games in Poland can cost up to $75. That's just telling half of the story. People in Poland earn a lot less on average, than Americans and Europeans do. So if you remember that the income is much lower, what in actual cash is $75, turns out to be a purchase worth $110. Spending $75 in Poland is probably like spending $110, maybe more, in the US. So yes, games are really, really expensive. What's interesting though is that PC games (same game, different platform) cost half price. No wonder PC gaming is the focus here. The sad thing is, most people would still rather pay $5 for a PC game than $33. This is where the piracy comes in, and boy, was it a wonder...

As I mentioned above there was also the problem of no games in stores. Even the best computer stores had only like 8, maybe 10 titles and it was amazing that they had oh my god 10 games jesus christ. Remember, this is the 90s we're talking about here, so no internet and no digital distribution. You had to have a physical copy of the game. Alright, so check this out:

You're a teenager in Poland in the 90s, you want to play this rad new game that just came out and you heard about it on satellite TV that gets American stations. The chances you're actually going to find it in a store somewhere are close to none. Even if you did, there is no way in hell you can afford it. What do you do?

You go to the temple of everything electronic, an epic place of trade and amazing deals. The freshly introduced capitalistic heaven: the open air electronics market!! When I first came to Poland and went to one of those I was amazed. These were not mere markets, these were Javas from Star Wars selling EVERYTHING. In most major cities they would be held in parking lots and old stadiums, from dawn till noon, and you could buy anything. I mean seriously, anything. Want a russian radio? No problem. How about parts to build night vision goggles? Pieces of a mortar? A stolen car stereo? You got it. It's really hard to express how much useless junk was there. I bet you could even find a T-14 Hyperdrive Generator there. The sellers were mostly shady dudes in their tracksuits and winter coats, smelling of old booze and engine grease. They had their stands set up in a way that the entire place was like a maze - small children got lost very often. Too often.

Anyway, you got your 10 PLN bill in your pocket (15 later on) and you're looking for the guy with nothing on his table. If he had nothing, he was selling illegal copies of games. If you were lucky, printouts of box art of the newest releases were taped to the table. So you come up to the dude and he hands you a list of games available for purchase. There is a number next to the title. You tell him what you want, give him the money, and in exchange you get what looks like a blank CD in one of those white square CD envelopes. Now, the number which should be on the disc is actually on the envelope only. There is no telling whether you're actually getting what you pay for.

This is how it worked in the 90s for PC and all the disc-based consoles. But the software is not the only thing that was fake. The hardware was also fake. I've never seen an authentic, Nintendo-made NES or SNES in Poland. I've seen fake NES and SNES. They looked similar, they played the games, but they were russian imitations. Yeah, they used to make those, I don't know how. It must have been really hard to get your hands on an actual console then. So yes, hardware piracy. The PC had this advantage over the consoles: it would play illegal software. When the original PlayStation came to Poland, people quickly came up with these chips you'd have installed in your console to make it play copied discs. They still do that. You can mod your 360, sure you can.

The era of ridiculous piracy ended when broadband home internet became widely available. People started making their own illegal copies. The open air electronics markets also died, because of megastore chains. Law of the markt. It's not like the law had anything to do with it, because even though everybody knew they were selling illegal, stolen stuff in those markets, nobody cared. Nobody. I'm not exaggerating any of this.

  • Other problems and the present.

Even though the age of piracy is probably around 10 years gone, there are other problems the game market and industry are facing in Poland. One of them is the still very small catalog of available games. Nintendo suffers the most here: DS and Wii games and hardware are practically nowhere to be found. In the game area of an electronics store you can find up to 15 DS games, and maybe 7 Wii games. It's like this in the entire country. You have to import everything, if you're a Nintendo fan. I asked a distributor about this when I bought my 3DS and the response I got was that apparently nobody buys Nintendo products (but you can get a DS card writer online). To be fair, the AAA titles do come out, however up to about 2 years ago nobody seemed to care about release dates. Games became available a week, or sometimes a month too late. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. The biggest problem with availability now is getting games that are not AAA titles. For example, you can't get Catherine here. Can't get Persona 4.

Another issue is that games and consoles are still considered to be toys and nothing else. This is why gaming is viewed as a children's thing, and that's why nobody pays any attention whatsoever to game ratings. Parents don't care, store clerks don't care. Hey, it's just a video game, right? It's a toy, how harmful can it be? I once saw like an 8 year old kid nagging his mom to get Dead Space 2 for him. The nagging worked and the mother took a copy of the game from the shelf and put it in her cart without even looking at it. I stopped her and asked if she knows that it's an M rated game and her kid really shouldn't be playing it. She looked at me like I was crazy and said that it's just a video game. I told her that it's gonna cause her kid to have panic attacks and other disorders (hell, Dead Space 2 scare me, and I'm almost 30), and walked away. The store owners only now begin to put up game rating info, but it's really gonna be a while before anyone starts caring.

Digital distribution, and by this I mean Steam is another problem. Or, to rephrase, it's having problems. Steam has to charge the international price for games, which is 50 Euros. That's over 200 PLN. Why would anyone pay that much for a PC game, when they can get the disc copy for half? To have steam achievements? Yeah, right. The only area where digital distribution seems to have success is mobile gaming. People do buy those Android and iOS games.

So that's pretty much it - being a devoted gamer in Poland is hard. It's hard, because there's just nothing a regular person can do about the state of things here. Spending 1/4 of your paycheck on ONE game is hard enough, not to mention how much more you're gonna have to spend if your taste is not in the mainstream. If you're a fan of Japanese games you're probably better off moving. Still, there is progress. Ever since the late days of the PS2 era things have started getting better. Slowly, but it's an ongoing process. It's going to continue being hard for some years to come, but hey, maybe it all makes people here appreciate games more? No it doesn't. But at least you can go and get yourself a game.

The real hope for Polish gaming lies with the Polish developers. Polish games are starting to get really big. The more money they make, the more the market situation will improve. The fact that CD Projekt RED in owned by one of Poland's biggest game distributors can't hurt. We shall see.

Thanks for reading!

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Watching the Endurance Run made me buy a PS2 again.

So, since I'm fairly new to this site I'm only at like episode 40 of the endurance run, but maaan, it made me realize how stupid of me it was to give my PS2 to my neighbor's kid when I last moved. So many great titles, can't even begin to name the favorites. Ryu ga gotoku, Xenosaga, Personas obviously, Onimusha series, and all the Japanese games that were never released in the US or Europe. The entire genre for adolescent boys with anime girls running around with their boobs jiggling around and stuff... ecchi games rule maaaan. It's gonna be a blast replaying all these games, especially since I don't really remember what they were about. I found this used game store on ebay, they pretty much have everything (kinda weird, but they actually did have every single title I searched for, even the really unknown Japanese games) so I'm stocking up. Also ordered me that latest version of the PS2 Slim... and now I'm just wondering how shitty the graphics will look on an HDTV.  They looked shitty on a regular HDReady TV... but who cares about graphics when it's Kazuma Kiryu?? Word.

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Are you scared yet?

Here, something that was never posted on gamespot.
 

 Are you? I’ve been a fan of the survival horror genre for a long time now. And let me tell you something, after spending countless hours crawling through sewers, shooting zombies in the head, escaping bears, walking around in my own nightmares… only one thing comes to my mind. I have seen this before and it’s not scary at all.
Breaking down the formula of a horror game or movie, what is it, that’s supposed to scare us? Most movies and games use a cheap trick, the basic element of surprise. You’re just walking through some corridor and suddenly BOOM! a monster pops out of nowhere! And you’re like “AHH!!”, pulling on the right trigger/R2 button. But that’s not scary. That’s not scary at all. It’s only a surprise, because you didn’t expect that particular monster in that particular place. Movies do the same thing. A girl brushes her hair with her eyes closed, opens her eyes, AND THERE IT IS! A GHOST IN THE MIRROR! Yeah… It’s pretty scary the first time you see it, but how many games like this are there? Dozens. Both FEAR games use this trick, Condemned, Silent Hills, Sirens, Biohazards (Resident Evil series)… The list goes on. I mean, at a certain point you can pretty much tell when the surprise will come. It’s like, ok here’s a dark corner, I bet something’s gonna jump at me from it. And it does…
Another thing both movies and games use to try and scare us is gore. Huge amounts of blood and guts flying all over the place. Zombies biting off flesh. The very image of a zombie, or a monster: big ugly, half-decomposed or skinless, maybe some limbs in surprising places. Well you’ve seen them monsters for sure. And you can’t say that they are not getting boring. Every monster I’ve seen in a game was old news. But the point here is, that gore and ugly stuff are not scary. They are gross. They are disgusting. May make your girlfriend wanna vomit. BUT, being grossed out is not the same thing as being scared.
Think about it. Have you ever been truly afraid while playing a video game? I think it happened to me once. And it wasn’t even a horror game. I’ll get to that later.
To get to the core of this, we have to establish what fear is. Fear is an emotion caused by an increase of adrenaline levels provoked by certain situations: situations (real or hypothetical) in which you feel that your safety, or the safety of somebody you love, is endangered. For example, I’m not scared when I see something disgusting or violent happen, nor when something unexpected happens. I’m scared when something

real

happens, and my brain classifies it as a potential threat. That’s why I was scared when 9/11 happened (a lot of tall buildings where I’m from) and why I wasn’t scared when people received anthrax in their mail (I don’t like classic heavy metal). What I’m getting at, is that only real threats can provide real fear.
What’s the connection to video games? Very simple. I will provide you with the best example I can think of. In the original FEAR, remember that part when you’re about to exit a building and suddenly Alma appears out of nowhere, time slows down, everything starts burning… she’s slowly walking towards you. Your first instinct is: shoot! So you start shooting at her in slow motion, and the bullets don’t slow her down…
Ok, that is a pretty scary moment, one of the few in video game history. And it’s exactly what I was talking about before: you think that when she finally reaches you – you will die (the character you control will die). But then, everything explodes and nothing happens. So you’re scared only for about 15 seconds. But in the end you don’t think “omg! I’m scared!”. You think “now THAT was freakin’ awesome!”
Now, you know what was a scary game for me? Fallout 3. Why? Because at some point it made me realize that this could actually happen in real life. It made me think, that all of what’s depicted in Fallout 3 could happen, and it wouldn’t take much. Just one crazy dictator pressing the red button. Can you imagine that? Well, you don’t have to, just play Fallout 3. That’s my whole point. Fallout 3 scared me on a different level. It scared me psychologically. Nothing supernatural going on in the game. No shock surprise tricks. Nothing like that. Yet somehow, it managed to scare the hell out of me.
You see, the survival horror games are just full of gimmicks, smoke and mirrors. They are entertaining, because they rise our adrenaline levels. Make us feel excited. But when you’re done with the game, you forget about it. So you killed a bunch of zombies. Meh. But with games like Fallout, it makes you think. It’s a different kind of fear. It crawls it’s way into your psyche and stays there.
And you know what? Making a game that has this kind of impact on people is a huge achievement. So I say scare us! But think outside the box, because zombies just don’t do the trick anymore.
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We Play What We Fear

 

A couple of years ago a friend of mine wrote his MA thesis on how American superheroes are a manifestation of the public's subconscious fears and insecurities. In the paper he proves, that characters like Captain America (just one of many he analyzed) were created as a response to America's overwhelming fear of everything alien. It goes as deep as creating fictional characters to give the society an illusion of safety, a fantasy that they're all protected by invincible superheroes that never lose. Now, I'm not going to take a stand in this case, because this is just the preface, the paper I mention just gave me the idea for this piece. As video games are becoming (or already have become) a medium of the same weight as movies and television we can observe how the subjects the games' stories take on change. In the beginning everything was very simple: jump to get a coin, dodge a spiked cannonball. But, as the medium's evolution was in progress over the years, developers and writers understood that virtual realities are becoming a great outlet for messages of all kinds. Since then we had a lot of games offering commentary on the current happenings in the world of politics, war, etc. Here I want to show you how our fears, those of present day, perspire into video games - the interactive medium where we are the heroes. So, what are we afraid of and how is it reflected in games?

1. Viral/biological warfare.

Biotechnology and gene manipulation were touchy subjects ever since these branches of science surfaced. Obviously it's a natural response - interfering with nature to such a degree is indeed very scary and people are bound to fear it, because what if something goes wrong and Prototype or Resident Evil actually happen? I have to honestly admit that when I played through Prototype I was scared. The developers of this game made it all look so real, so possible. That's what was so frightening about it, at some point you realize that at the current level of biotech's evolution, this can actually happen. A viral outbreak to consume the population. Prototype is a great game, with outstanding gameplay, visuals and characters, but there is something more to it than just the playability. The story of the game is what completes the experience and leaves you thinking about it for days. What if, right now, there is somebody out there with a vial or syringe that could potentially wipe out the human race from the face of the Earth?

Resident Evil's original (Japanese) title is Biohazard. It would seem like nothing else needs to be said, the title says it all. We have Umbrella Corporation playing around with viral weapons and all hell breaks loose. The most recent installment in the franchise, RE5 takes it all to a new level, a level of realism much more vivid than the previous games in the series. Again, it feels so real, so possible. You go to Africa and immediately your mind starts remembering things from the real world, things that actually did happen, and you put the puzzle pieces together. It's amazing how RE5 resonates with the subconscious of a thinking individual. We know that HIV and the Ebola virus originated in Africa... so why not this? We've already seen it happen in real world. (Or at least that's what we think we know, I personally believe that HIV and Ebola were artificially engineered by P****r in a lab, but that's a whole different story.) We know that all of this is way too familiar, it's almost like it already happened. The regions with most famine and lack of health care are most likely to produce these outbreaks... Wait and see.

2. Nuclear Holocaust.

Nuclear energy is both a blessing and a curse. We both love it and fear it at the same time. Just think Fallout. Trying to survive in a world destroyed by nukes, where everything is glowing with radiation, mutating, and who knows what else. And isn't that what the world fears right now? We're all scared that one of these days somebody will press The Red Button and everything our species has accomplished will evaporate because of some idiot's sick ambition. Fallout isn't the only game that utilizes nukes. the Red Alert games have the A-bomb as the ultimate weapon. When you play against somebody online it's like a race against time - who gets the nuke first is the winner (mostly). The nuclear armageddon was put aside for a while to make room for the games about viruses and such, but with Fallout 3 the subject resurfaced and made us think yet again, that doomsday may be closer than we think. If you think about it right about now the world is on the edge. Who will be the first to jump?

3. Terrorism (aaa!)

What was the game that let you be the terrorist for the first time? C&C: Generals? Yeah, that was a good one. It's not really surprising that most of the modern warfare games take place in the Middle East, or anywhere sand is at home. It's not so much a commentary to what happened in the world in the past twenty years as it is a natural response to the demands of the consumers. It makes sense, all the movies, all the games... everything covered in sand. The ultimate in-yo-terrorist-face game is obviously 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand. Seems like we have had enough of this fear of terrorism, so now it's time to make some fun of it. Still, the fear is there. It just went to the store to get some smokes, but don't worry - it will be back.

4. THEM.

It's right under the surface, isn't it. Once again I must refer to Resident Evil and Prototype. These games are the prime example of what we, as a culture, fear the most. We fear THEM. The government and the corporations, the rulers of the world. Their desperate struggle for world domination, be it literal or financial, they are the phantom menace. In Resident Evil your enemy is the Umbrella Corporation, which is a symbol of all the global corporations. The umbrella logo could just as well be the logo from the bottles in your medicine cabinet. This is exactly what's crawling in our minds, that these global pharmaceutical corporations will lose their sense of good and evil (if they haven't already...) and unleash something like a killer virus. I don't want to go too far with this, but everything that we see on the screens, in the games we play can actually happen. You think Prototype is a fantasy? I think by now it's obvious that governments will do ANYTHING to stay in control, because control is their heroin and they are strung out more than we can imagine. Nuke NYC? It's nothing to them, they don't care about human lives, they only care about themselves and how to maintain doing the God job on this planet. Prototype was a risky game to put out on the market. It shows what the government is capable of more vividly than any movie, any book or TV show. You play the main character, you're right in the middle of it, a governmental project gone wrong. You think these things don't happen in real world? Watch the news. If you read enough and educate yourself you'll see that many countries in the world are just one step from installing martial law. It's no joke.

The bottom line is, games are taking the place of movies, books and TV shows, visualizing our worst fears and making us save the world. This time it's a more personal experience, because we the gamers are responsible for the final outcome of the crisis. Let's just all hope that our fears will stay on the DVDs and Blu Rays and our screens and never become reality.

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