TylEa3: Microsoft Conference Notes

Out of context notes!

Beatles - Poor Miming
Bad Presentation
Beatles Megamix!
you ARE the walrus
Yoko ono on stage for 2 seconds
Beatles: Graphics are good, and paul and ringo were great. Apparemtly.
I got personally thanked!
No charts or graphs!
Apparently microsoft...
OH GOD
TONY HAWK JUST CAME OUT
Trailers, yeah
*shock* TH Ride has difficulty settings.
It even makes Pro skaters get into the Flow.
Old COD trailers are victorious.
MWF2! GAMEPLAY! OMFG
Soap is your commander! BUT HES SILENT
Ice Climbing
Shit hit fan
MW2 animation rules
TWO MINUTES INTO GAMEPLAY...A GUN!
Things do not go as planned
Planning map packs THIS FAR BEFORE RELEASE?! FUCK!
JET SKIIIIIIS
Microsoft are thumbs upping sony!
SQENIX has killers on the right
No verses XIII for me
EVERYTHING FROM HERE ON IS EXCLUSIVE
Wars of gear kart racing Episode 1.
OH GOD THE EPIC MIC IS NOT ON
HE GETS A MIC!
Oh, its called shadow coomplex
Dear lord, a platformer
Epic just made castlevania
Epic just made metroid
Cliffy B likes fake cool shirts
KART RACING WITH AVATARS
Oh its free....
FUCK MICROTRANSACTIONS
PLEASE BE CRACKDOWN PLEASE
CRACKDOWN 2 VS MONSTERS!
Left 4 Dead 2. Really soon. Out of nowhere
DUDE ITS Splinter Cell CONVICTIONS
INFILTRATE THE MANSION
GET SARAHS KILLER
SHOCKING: Forza 3
What happened to the old logo?
CAR
DRY ICE
ITS ON
YES! FORZA HAS IN CAR
This trailer isn't selling Forza
Forza Video Editor is pretty cool
BEARD!
ODST Gameplay. It's on.
Halo meets COD
Metroid visor.
Brand new co-op in ODST
OOOO
WHAT IS THIS NEW BUNGIE GAME
Oh...its the rumoured one. I read the book.
Meh, SHOCKINGLY, its
Halo: Reach.
Falls 2010.
I see what they did there.
ODST comes with beta invite for reach
So top secret...
ALAN WAKE?!
YES!
Gameplay...is dissapointing.
ALAN WAKE GAMEPLAY!!
Last.fm
Zune.
Still no netflix in the UK.
Facebook...oh I'm so...WHY?!
EA+Facebook....WHY?!
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TWITTER?!
I was expecting J Allard
MGS 4. wait. No
MGS Rising
Crowed wanted MGS4.
Motion controller.
yaaaay.
Me no care.
you ARE the controller
Motion controller fail.
blue
blue
BE ALLARD
BE ALLARD
no...its spielberg
ENTIRE BEING
GLASSES
Oh...their demoing natal on stage
Nice
The bottom of an avatars shoe?! WHA BAM
oh god....look at her
FLAIL LIKE FUCK RETARD
HELP ME MAKE MY ELEPHENT
MOLYENUX
More dogs?
A boy called milo!
She felt the need to reach down
Emotion
MILOS WORLD
SHE IS IN THE POND!
FINDING SARAHS KILLER

No J ALLARD.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS
Dude Crackdown 2
This is the only place people can be disappointed with Steven Spielberg.
Disappointment came through when it wasn't MGS4.

Well, I can't be bothered to make a proper blog. Have these notes I made during the conference.

NOTE TO MODS: If attaching this to the forums breaks some kind of E3 discussion rule, then lock it up.
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E3 you say?

Breaking News

I did search E3 into the Giant Bomb image finder. MGS3 came up. E3 didn't.
E3's next week. A couple of days, to be precise. Exclusive announcement. Here.

Yeah...I'm not fooling anyone. Anyway, a Question of the "Day" came out that I could actually answer. Why? Because it was very suited to me. You see, I'm British, which means I love ranting about things/people to other things/people. This means I'm gonna rant about how I don't like E3 (a thing) on the internet (another thing). Here I go. So, to answer the question:

What's my least favourite thing about E3

As my spelling of favourite revealed, I'm from dear old England. Also, anyone who has read my blog ever probably knows that. I mention it. A lot. This means I can't go, obviously, but more importantly, can't watch the press conferences live, and end up with my least favourite thing in the world: Spoilers.

I haven't already done a rant blog about spoilers, so I'll use this blog for that instead. I hate spoilers so much, that I call being told whats announced in the Press Conference before I watch it a spoiler. Thus why all these "MICROSOFTS ANNOUNCEMENTS CONFIRMED" threads are really annoying. I want to turn the press conference on and be shocked. Anyone who missed, say (unfairly picking on nintendo time) the nintendo conference in "those" years, and watched them after they were told about either Ravi Drums or Reggie would not have enjoyed the hilarity as much if those people didn't know those moments were coming.

It's the same reason I hate threads that start: "7.2 GIVEN BY SAID SITE TO SAID GAME." Thanks for giving me the bit I care about, I would like to read the review without knowing things like the score until the end, especially on video reviews. Thus, in this years E3, before I get a chance to watch the microsoft press conference there will be some thread going: "PERSONA 5 ANNOUNCED AS A 360 EXCLUSIVE."

Note to self: That's not gonna happen, no matter how much you really want to play a persona game, Mr.

And Another Thing!

Right, bullet point number two. Coverage of E3. IT SUCKS ASS. I'm counting on Giant Bomb to change this, as it has in other areas. Gamespot, IGN, GameTrailers all take a VERY corporate approach to it. Studios that look like they were ripped out of bad sports channels, stilted interviews round oval tables. AHHHH. Thankfully, GiantBomb does interviews differently. Take one interview, you'll know the one I mean, no one in a suit saying too many figures, just Jeff talking to a man in a towel with brad making stupid faces. They know the level of humour needed to impress the internet.

DISCLAIMER: DID NOT CALL THE INTERNET PRETTY SIMPLE. REALLY.

But yeah, that whole fakeness of the coverage and really all the press conferences, making them into both big events and business meetings at the same time. Hopefully GB brings a more down to earth and normal coverage this year! I'm counting on this!

In Other News...

  • DS Games are pretty cool, who knew?
  • Britains Got Talent is a terrible, terrible show. Yet I watch it at my sisters behest. I shall write a song about it.
  • "Writing a song about it" is always the answer.
  • Mass Effect on the iPhone is a stupid idea and EA should die.
  • Why the fuck can I not attatch E3 to this blog, because games with longer titles seem to come first?! Oh look, I fixed it. Added Electronic Entertainment Expo as an alias. This is helpful.
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I Know You'll Miss Me

I'm off on holiday in 10 minutes

A nice three day break to Bournemouth. However, I couldn't leave you all without awesome youtube videos. Exposition time: I'm a drummer, and thus whilst searching for other drumming videos to see on youtube I found this man. He makes awesome videos. I shall present you a couple now:
  

  

I respect this is also a video game website, and thus I shall present you with links to his Mario Bros covers.
  1. Mario Bros. 1
  2. Mario Bros. 2
  3. Mario Bros. 3
Also: The Simpsons.

Don't miss me too much whilst I'm gone. If you haven't seen these videos yet, consider this an education in awesome. If you have, then five gold stars to you.

Now go back to listening to 21st Century Breakdown, because you obviously have it on repeat. All of you.

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Apparently This Is Real

I Found This on Kotaku

First off, a helpful link to the Kotaku Story. Have you all read that now? No? Well don't worry cause I'll paraphrase.

*ahem*

There is going to be, apparently, a video game like cybernetic suit for use by the army. And they have called it: "Future Soldier 2030." Now I have no idea how credible this is, but its great blog material, so lets roll with it. Lets list the features of this suit now:
  • Strength Enhancing Exoskeleton
  • In Helmet HUD
  • Voice commands
  • "Data Glove"
  • Advanced Nanomaterial
  • Biometric Headgear.
  • Combat Enhancing Drugs

Obviously this is all in the concept stage, and as the picture to the right shows, it looks exactly like Shepard's suits from Mass Effect. So, the Army come up with a ridiculously cool concept, but then they fail in other areas. Like the naming. "Future Soldier 2030." Seriously, they didn't use some kind of acronym? Like N.I.C.E: Nanomaterial Individual Combat Exoskeleton. If they are gonna nick the combat suits from video games, they should really nick the cheezy names we give them.

Now, In Helmet HUD.  I'm still reeling in shock over this one. Its very helpful in video games, but all it will serve to do in REAL warfare is simply distract you, right? Though the thought of a soldier seeing his own health bar, whilst thats obviously not what they mean, still made me chuckle. Actually, it may happen, as the picture shows:
"Physiological sensors that continuously monitor the soldier's health."
Make it happen, US army. Please, it's such a funny idea. How depressed would that make a soldier to see there bar flashing red and then NOT regenerate?

The best one for me was the Voice Commands. Allow me to take a chunk of the Kotaku story here:
"Features Include...voice commands that unlock a weapon or set it to less-than-lethal force"
I saw Star Trek last week. So all I can imagine is that there is going to be a combat suit that will respond to the phrase: "Set Phasers to Stun." If thats not going to be a feature of this suit, then by god they should just give up on this crazy idea right now.

Also, I mentioned the similarity to the Mass Effect suits. IT EVEN HAS A THING ON THE WRIST TO CONTROL ROBOTS. Granted, its not orange and a floating hologram, but haven't bioware sued or something?

The rest is almost all predictable video game jargon that WE have heard before, Advanced Nanomaterial, Biometric Headgear, Combat Enhancing Drugs. Wait? Drugs? The Army are actually going to make Haze a reality? There are oh so many negative connotations for that possibility that I am worried to even mention it. When you put your soldiers inside a NANOMACHINE POWERED EXOSKELETON, why do you need to pump drugs into them? Well, if thats what it takes to include a health bar and "Set Phasers to Stunned" then go ahead actually, I'd love to see that.

In Other News...

  • I've been constantly listening to 21st Century Breakdown. It rules. You should too.
  • Apart from that, I've had exams. So not much.
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Games as: Sport

What makes a sport?

Sport itself is very hard to define. The official definition from Dictionary.com is very long, so I took the first part:
1. An athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature
Thus, games are not sport. End of blog.

We've come to the point where there is a Gaming League.
You may think that, but definitions change, they are not final. The meanings of words change with the times, and I personally believe we are at one of those times, or at least going to be arriving at one soon. Chess is now an accepted sport. Thinks like poker are broadcast on Sports channels. And, so are games. MLG has a deal with ESPN, a prominent sports network in America. If a company that big is going to invest in professional gaming like that, then surely there will come a point where games will be regarded as sports on the level of other non-physical activities, such as chess.

However, there will never be a sport of "gaming," thats impossible. Video gaming is a medium, like Film and Television. It is the games themselves that are the individual sports. And what makes these games sports? Well, technically, once you allow a sport to be presented in an electronic medium it is anything that is competitive. Technically, you could then call Fuzion Frenzy a sport, and who'd want to do that?

Lets ignore the deep argument about the smaller games, and just talk about those that are played professionally already, but aren't yet thought of as "sports." Take StarCraft. Technically, it could be the national sport of South Korea. It really could. It's popular enough. As the current games played "professionally" it is most easily the close to Chess. You have "pieces," they have pre-defined properties, and there is the potential for extremely deep strategy. It's probably the hardest one to talk about, as you play an invisible commander, like you do in Chess. However, where it gets more complex and convoluted is in games where you control a single person.

Street Fighter. Nuff said.
Like, for example, Street Fighter. Or any fighting game, for that matter. In a race, in a real martial art, you can always get better. You can always improve your execution and your physical state. In Street Fighter, you can only improve your ability to press buttons at the right time. Does this discount it as a sport? No, it just makes it, as all games are, different. On this very site there are Street Fighter Tournaments hosted every single week. The fact that your avatar cannot move faster or do the exact move that you want is a limitation, yes, but one inherent upon all players. And therefore, a fair one.

The final type of games that are included in many peoples definition as gaming sports are first person shooters. Again, there are limits. The fastest speed at which you turn is not dictated by the amount of training you have had, but by the developers. It's a limit imposed upon all. Some will say that this discredits it as a sport. Personally, I believe it helps it. Having everyone on the same level of play, with the same ability to "do stuff" is fair.

In these console FPS games, unless you hack, everyone has the same ability to "do stuff."  However, in fighting games especially, the lines become blurred. Do you use a stick or a controller? What parts does your controller have? These are all unfair advantages you can have. Similar to putting heavy material inside a boxing glove. Or is it similar to using a different racket in a game of Tennis? We've not nearly had these games available for long enough to work it out, work out the exact rules. And frankly, we never will.

A prize for the winner.
Games exist as a medium, used for profit. These games are not created for long standing use as sports, but for profit every single year. Its this inherent problem which will prevent games from reaching a sport status, unless there is a game solely created as one, it won't catch on to the level it could. This is why you get a new Call of Duty every few years, because people buy it. Awesome for everyone, yes, but as a sporting image, it's hurtful. Obviously 99% of the gaming people don't give a damn, but to those who are engaged professionally in gaming, it's akin to moving the goalposts every 2 years in football. Changing the rules.

Games can be sports. They can. There is the potential there. Street Fighter comes the closest to being a sport, in my opinion. Everyone, including me, bettering themselves so they can win more. That is the essence of a sport. And it reaches it. But the mainstay and recognition will never be there, as they keep changing with new iterations so that money can be made.

End Note

Well, thats about all for now. A little disjointed as a blog, I'll improve if I ever do another similar one.

Thanks for reading,
~Tylea002
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In This Long Week

What HAVE I been doing?

WIthout a 360, I am. Therefore I resort to the only DS game I own.
What? It's awesome. It's like pokemon, but fresh. As in, like it, but not exactly the same, like the newer pokemon games. I need more DS games. Now, you all may knock it off as a bad kiddy game, but once you get past the front end, you'll find a much deeper monster fighter/collector/raiser than anything pokemon provided. I'd write a lot about it here, but that would spoil an upcoming review.

I'll just end this with "I need more DS games, theys just as fun as Console Games"

A note about my gamerscore

I also went round to my friends today, whilst we were revising, and played a bit of a "meh" game called Kung Fu Panda. It has easy points, and thus my gamerscore is:
  

Apologies for stupidity. My childish mind could not resist. Goodbye for now.
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Another Rant

Warning: This Blog will contain copius amounts of opinion and ranting.


Topic 1: Censorship

Which is more offensive:

NA Box Art Front


UK Box Art
I'll keep the rant limited to a couple paragraphs.

Am I right to be annoyed about this kind of change of name? Really? Why does it bother me so much? Is heaven such an offensive work with its religous connotations that you have to use paradise, a word with just as many connotations, and a much more adverse effect on selling the game. Is that how far that we've come, that words that have anything directly to do with a religion are not allowed to be shown as a title for a video game? It offends me more that they think this could actually offend anyone.

Also, the box art. Was there something so wrong about showing an over the top clown conductor? Was there something wrong with showing something yawning? Why do they now feel the need to simply show a bored blankfaced person on the front. Not only is that a bad marketing decision, it makes me again think that they were worried that some may take offence to over the top designs and people opening their mouth and showing their teeth.

Ok I'll stop. I think we need some awesome to balance this blog.

And here it is


That's all for now. I really need some kind of outro.
  

That's all folks! (Whaddya mean it's been taken. Oh fuck it.) 

EDIT: Have a rock version too.
  

(ALSO, IF SOMETHING STRANGE COMES UP, I'M TRYING TO EDIT THE POST FOR VIDEO EMBEDDING BUGS)
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The bad news

I'm not in a good state

I have exams tomorrow, and all of next week, and to top it off, my 360 is broken. It happened a few days ago, tuesday I think. I played it, and I got two red lights, overheating. Thinking I needed to leave it, I did. Til earlier today, in which it also came on with two red lights. Now, this is not covered by the extended warranty, leaving me rather annoyed. So no long blog today, just a short message of sadness from a confused man.
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Making Your Mind Up

Remember This?


Mass Effect prided itself on Moral Choices. It was BioWare's next step in their morality drive. It was the continuation of their efforts to really allow you to in a Role Playing Game, actually "Play the Role" of your character rather than simply view their journey, and control their skill trees. In fact, lets take a trip back to the beginning of the Moral Choice system, and how it developed, and why it even exists.

The cover says it all, really
Rewind quite a few years, and you have the first attempts at fitting Moral Choices into games. Its a very western staple of RPG's, and litters through all of Bioware's games (even the early ones, yes) and the first 2 Fallout Games. These early games are barely recognisable in their implementation of the way Moral Choices are handled in today's world. But they had them. They kept track of how good and evil you were, and made changes to the game appropriately.

Fast forward to 2001. Another man rises up who would soon become a strong player in the whole Moral Choice area. His name was Peter Molyneux, and his game was Black & White. You may have heard of it. Everything you do is supposed to have an effect. The landscape and UI will morph and change based on how good or evil your character happens to be.

2 Years later, KoToR had come out and so had Fable. Fable being Molyneux's next game, and KoToR being Bioware's. These games were completely different in Moral Systems and implementation, but were in essence extremely similar. The main difference is this, the choices and consequences came out in the form of Dialogue Trees. You couldn't kill people randomly. The game played exactly the same until you entered the dialouge tree and it started to split. Obviously, being a Star Wars game the split widened to combat with the Light/Dark thing that Star Wars has, but the choices were often simply made in these menus. And so were many of the goals. Being evil allowed you to shout at people and scare them and being good allowed you to comfort people and just be nice.

Also you could get Devil Horns eventually.
Fable, however, was a continuation of the Molyneux style that he started in black and white. Main difference to note between KoToR and Fable, is that Fable has 0 dialogue trees. None whatsoever. The choices were made in your actions, and most of the consequences were external, rather than internal. In KoToR, if you were evil, you could do evil spells and be more evil. But in Fable, if you were evil, people run away from you in the street, they slander you and shout. And you became more evil by, for example, murdering people in the street, stealing from shops. In KoToR, you became more evil by doing a mission, then deciding what to do midway though whether it be good or bad, and living with those consequences.

Both systems grew old very quickly, as there  were two inherent problems. One more inherent than the other. One, the characters were not very well developed, and this was partly of a fault of the graphics. The faces were simply not expressive enough, there was no real personal consequence. It was harder to make people believe that they were interacting with real people, not just fake NPCs. And two, they were, ironically, Black & White. No middle ground.

Little Girls or Sources of Energy?
Fast Forward again to 2007. Two games arrive, with Moral Decisions as a crux of the game. These games are Mass Effect and Bioshock. Both of these have amazingly believable locations and characters. Mass Effect is the continuation, or one could say the completion, of the BioWare view on Moral Choices. It is no longer good or evil, but Good Cop or Bad Cop. Do you ruthlessly fight to protect yourself, or help anyone and everyone, or just go in the middle. The decisions you made, and how you controlled situations really did have consequences. Virmire was one of the best emotional showpieces for what that system could achieve.

Bioshock, on the other hand, had one choice. Repeatedly. Do you go for the immidiate power or do you save a little girl's life. The believability of this shockingly impossible situation was enough to make you agonise over every one, ask yourself if that power is truly worth it. And for a game, this kind of level of immersion in decisions had never happened before.

This last Holiday, Fallout 3 and Fable II were released. Fable II simply extends what Fable started, and the dog provides an emotional attatchment not seen before in many games. In fact, the last choice was one that made even the most hardened "good" player stop and reconsider the choice for the good of that dog. And the consequences were felt among the world that you resided in. Fallout 3, similarly made you make real choices that actually had real consequences. Even in the little things such as pickpocketing. As RPGs, they work well, immersing you in the role of a character. Your character. But RPG's are no longer the only genre that use this, as Bioshock proved. Whatis the best way to implement this system without intruding on the experience, and ruling over your every move, as it does in Fallout and Fable?

Mr Sensitive
April 29, 2008. GTA IV was released. Pedigree, it had, especially in the story. And by god it delivered. It has the most grounded and beliveable characters in a surprisingly in depth and engaging story. And yes, it had choices. And made them work better than in any of the other games. Being a criminal, Niko has to sometimes decide who to kill or whether to kill at all. And thing about these choices is that they are not normal occurances. There are about 4 Major ones over the course of the entire game. And every single one relies on the amazing story telling to make you agonize over the decision you are making. You decide what character you "like" more, when these started out as NPCs who could give you certain bonuses.

And the consequences are not too great. These huge choices feel like they have consequences, and they do, but they don't force you to play a certain way for the rest of the game, there is no "good/evil meter." For example, when you get to finally meet with your "special someone," the choice doesnt matter in gameplay. But it effects you, simply because you care about the characters.

GTA IV shows how you can add Moral Choices in, make them impactful, without basing your game around them. And it works. The consequences are in your head, and really they don't need to be spelled out in front of you. When you kill an innocent taxi driver, who begs for his live, it takes all the humanity out to get a "-1" pop out on the screen, wheras GTA manages to make you feel slightly guilty for killing a...placeholder NPC. Without ruining the fun or spoiling the feel of the game.  And that is quite an achievement.

So Moral Choices. They've come a long way, and I love them in my games. Having to actually make decisions that make me think about the consequences is an achievement on the TV screen, and I really like it. The more games that actually make you care about the world around you and what you do to it, the better. Though as with all good things, imitators wil eventually bring it to another cliche that gets old before its really reached its pinacle.

However, I don't fear the future. I simply await it and hope that it is good.

In Other News...

  • I lost "The Game"
  • Street Fighter IV may have to stop soon, I will come to my own realisation that I'm not, not really very good.
  • They raised the price of Microsoft Points in HMV. Surely that's not possible. Surely.
  • Putting awesome double bass drumming over Evan Brass "My Heart Belongs..." song works damn well. I should make a video.

And that's it for today, I'll write something later this week to keep you guys with your "Tylea002 Fix"
 
See you guys later.
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