Zolkowski's forum posts

#1 Posted by Zolkowski (56 posts) -

After going back and playing Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, for what is probably the 10th time in the 8 years since it's release, it's really depressed me that this game is the prime example of what's the best out there for the genre. What's even more depressing is how this critically acclaimed game (Specifically Choas Theory) was, instead of being improved upon, changed drastically into an action-stealth adventure.

I'll admit Conviction was fun. Though you can't say that it was anything like Chaos Theory. The true stealth, the timing (Where missions could take you anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on your playstyle), and the sense of vulnerability are really missing from almost all games that have attempted stealth.

Chaos Theory wasn't perfect by any means, but the fact that it's style of stealth gameplay has not been improved upon (Or even attempted) for 8 years almost seems unforgivable at this point. It felt convincing and not nearly as super-human as most stealth games portray these days.

#2 Posted by Zolkowski (56 posts) -

@DarthOrange: Doesn't that knowledge make you yearn for a solution? Isn't that, in the end, the best result? A collective effort, knowing the glaring problems we face, to fix them? It can be depressing, but it's also motivational.

@Winternet: It all depends what you do with the knowledge. I'd rather have a large group of sobered individuals trying to figure things out than a mass of 'ignorant bliss' not even bothering with the most important of issues. With knowledge it doesn't mean it's impossible to be happy.

#3 Posted by Zolkowski (56 posts) -

@TruthTellah: None of those solutions were my implications. I made the suggestion of pushing for a stronger education system. I'm assuming you are building a strawman. If you were joking around, I am sorry I didn't catch your sarcasm. If not, take your knee-jerking somewhere else or actually contribute to the conversation.

@Pezen: I should have reiterated the point a little 'bit. You laid it out as I intended, however.

It's not like we can ever magically fix this problem, though it would be nice. Our hopes lay with how we can raise the youth to apply these thinking skills.

#4 Edited by Zolkowski (56 posts) -

[I haven't revisited my blog in a while. Just adding this edit here to say this was a post out of frustration during a difficult time. I'm not going to delete it for the sake of archiving, but this post comes out much more spiteful than I'd like]

I'd like to apologize for my disappearance for anyone who still might have read my previous posts. My dad had passed away unexpectedly a month and a half ago and it took me by shock. He died at 47, so you can see why that might be the case. Anyways, I made this rambling on my facebook - it's just a slur of ideas, but some people seemed to like it. - (And apparently I can't copy and paste it? I'll try to type it out manually). I'm sorry if my typing is a little more sour than normal. It's just my mood.


I worry a lot when I talk to various people coming into the gas station (Where I work part-time). A lot of them tired and over-worked mill workers, and another large portion just moved from Milwaukee and Chicago and everywhere in-between. At first there was frustration towards the people themselves with over-simplified viewpoints, bigoted statements, and just plain ignorant bliss. I hear these viewpoints most when I listen to the BBC; hearing the headlines for the day.

My dread comes that these people are more sure about what should be done to/in the world than I think I'll ever be. And I hate it. It's not them, however, that I hate. I hate the feeling that society has failed them. There is little hope of turning around the product that is already well refined in it's ways. But honestly, what do you expect in a region (of many) where education is put on a back-burner? Even the simple art of critical thought and skepticism seems to be completely lost in the majority population - skills that should be taught at the very basic and fundamental levels of schools.

We live in a society where people think politics is about opinions instead of facts. Where the majority of voters vote based upon these notions, turning a blind eye to anything else because it is simply easier. I posted a quote earlier that rings truth, but in a nutshell it states people get the feeling that their ignorance is as good as anyone else's knowledge. Our society is breeding anti-intellectualism. Where intellectuals are seen as 'elitist', 'pompous', and most of all 'detached', from what people think is really the truth.

It makes me fear that this is how a democracy fails. When it's people can no longer know any better. And it's a vicious cycle, too. Those who do pay attention with critical thinking feel like their opinion is lost in a sea of ignorance.

When talking about this I feel like most of you think this doesn't apply to you, or that you are the exception. What I am talking about encapsulates almost all of us. There are just more extreme examples than us. To truly grasp what really needs to be done in this country/world and understand it to the most possible degree is most definitely held by a minority. To think you can have an educated opinion on any large topic based upon a single news article, talk show, podcast, documentary etc. is a totally misguided notion. If a society at it's core encouraged at least basic critical thought, skeptic, and analytical thinking a 'bit more I'd like to think we would at least be a little better off.

/end useless rambling.

#5 Edited by Zolkowski (56 posts) -

When talking about the perception of E-Sports I am talking about the major contenders out there that absorb the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of viewers attached to the scene. These would include Starcraft 2, DoTA games, Call of Duty (Insert sequel here), and Halo (Insert Sequel here). When thinking of heavy competition involving money and many viewers these are the main titles that come to mind. Looking at these games closely, however, they are some of the simplest examples of games in their genres. Why is this?

The simple explanation is that these are the core of RTS and shooters (And well, DoTA). There's nothing extra and there's no such thing as chance when it comes to Unit versus Unit. I'll be using Starcraft as a primary example. In retrospect Starcraft 2 is damn near the same as Brood War aside from general user-friendly and graphical improvements. Many argue these games work because of this element. As opposed to leaving it to tactical chance we are left with one giant metagame, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metagaming) where announcers and viewers alike can view a game, see a certain build or strategy, and accurately predict what the opposing player will do. Where the most skilled player who can identify these and react the fastest wins.

I've nothing against these kind of games and I watch them occasionally, but the community involved at large despises any game dealing with a certain hint of chance and outside factors affecting the outcome of a game as a bad thing. Because I mean, we don't play games with any factor of chance for money, right? (I'm looking at you, poker) Hell, even a game of football (Both American and European versions) are games at risk of things happening outside of the players control. This includes not having a "balanced" team and playing with what you have as advantage and try pressing those.

What kind of game would entail this? Titles like the Total War series and Company of Heroes - or on the other spectrum - ArmA 2/Red Orchestra are perfect examples, though not necessarily the games they have to be. Where positioning of units will give you a percentage advantage which allows for a more tactical game as opposed to a metagame. The Total War Games and Company of Hero games are heavily based upon your positioning of units - where certain factors affect how likely you will succeed in such an engagement.

These types of games award players who are able to exploit tactical advantages, where you don't necessarily start on even footing, and not those who can build a six-pool the fastest. Watching these games to me is a lot more entertaining because the room for prediction is at a minimum. I wish the developers of these games as well as the players would recognize the capabilities of E-Sports moving to the tactical front and support it.

Gamespot had a Medieval 2 tournament two or three years ago that I took a part in and it was absolutely fantastic. There are certain armies and units that can generally win the most, but it's not a sure thing especially when playing on certain terrain and using it to your advantage. A lot of people don't believe me that these games could work as a spectator sport, but have yet to see it to it's fullest potential.

A dream tournament I think of involves a more net-code happy ArmA 2 tournament. Spanning over a certain city or region of the map (To avoid the 30 minute crawl of no action) with two teams of maybe 15-20 needing to complete certain objectives. The type of casting and camera work involved with this could be incredibly fantastic. Team choppers fly in reinforcements, longer engagements based upon movement as opposed to twitch-shooting, and dynamic and shifting games that completely throws predictability out of the window. These would be longer matches, but many of us already watch hour or longer football games on television so it really is no different.

This doesn't just require support from us the community, we need developers to hop on board and be willing to provide the close community support needed to keep such things alive. It's a major factor as to why Blizzard and Starcraft 2 had stayed alive. They listen closely to the players and catered to the competitive crowd. This is just an idealistic rambling of thoughts and I don't realistically expect anything to come of it, but it's just a fun fruit for thought.)

Edit: Used html like a boss, not realizing it wasn't supported. Fixed.

#6 Edited by Zolkowski (56 posts) -

I've noticed a startling number of people become upset of the humble indie bundle and other similar kick-offs. Complaining of too much frequency, too much greed, and that it's just a scheme. If the end result is that these are all true, but the result is also getting an obscenely good deal on games on top of a charity donation is there really any room to complain?

I know, I know, the people involved with these bundles are out for money as are the developers, and I am sure they are gaining huge profits from them - at the same result without these profits we would not get deals like this anymore and the benefit of a charity behind the works would not be there. Most of us don't donate, and we will only donate (see: kickstarter) if there is something out for us to gain. In this case we gain many indie games. I honestly don't care if that's what forces to people to give in some way shape or form so long as they are giving.

The reason for bringing this up was reading reactions for the debacle on the latest HIB raising the minimum to $1 dollar after there were people abusing the system to make new accounts on steam and enter the hopeless wishlist giveaway. http://blog.humblebundle.com/post/14549340777/1-min-price-for-getting-steam-keys We get quotes like:

Oh please. If the HIB folk are so concerned about the charity, then let them give /all/ the money collected to charity. The indie bundle are quite happy to abuse charity for their own financial gain. And, TBH, it's getting quite boring, especially as other indie developers jump on the bandwagon. I'd much prefer them to write decent games that sell without them needing to pretend it's all for charity when it clearly isn't. We don't need games in exchange for donating to a worthwhile cause - of which there are plenty but "indie gamers" are not one of them

It scares me more and more how people defend the humble indie bundles, don't you realize it's just mass relief? it's shit marketed as holy and everybody falls for it because it's "indie", "indie" is not sinonim with puppies or love or what's left of good in mankind, indie just means the people making those games don't want to work for no fucking company and would rather stay independent, it's NOT a fountain of goodness, it's NOT the answer to everything, so stop defending these over glorified platformers for fucks sake they're just using YOU.

And posts like this are getting a lot of support. What good would it be if the HIB kept letting people abuse the steam system, steam pulls it support for the bundles, the bundle sells less, and people are grabbing at such a low cost it's not even covering the bandwidth usage on their website let alone download costs? We would not see deals like this anymore because everyone would know people would just abuse the system. As for those getting sick of seeing all the bundles - really? You are discontent because of websites you don't even have to visit has too many obscenely good deals?

I can't even fathom this line of thinking, and I am hoping it's not just me. Even if you don't like these games you can at least acknowledge the good coming from it and shun those who abuse it. It's like someone invites you to their fridge to have whatever you like, and some fuckface packs a bag full of their food. You are literally costing them money when you pull shit like the steam scam and it's a disgrace.

#7 Posted by Zolkowski (56 posts) -

@sanchopanza said:

On the issue of punishment, to quote Smith directly: "mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent". If you have actually studied the subject you might see how shaky 'morality' really is, and I think you realise this, whereas someone like Yagami is set in stone and instead of even considering counter arguments just goes in circles with "fighting bad, violence bad, me smart you stupid".

Right, I was afraid of giving that vibe for this which is why I added the 'bit towards the bottom on the Oslo shootings. Thanks for the PDF, I'll check it out :)

@AhmadMetallic said:

I read your first blog and commented on it, and based on your reply I saw that we see eye to eye. However, I stopped reading this halfway through the first paragraph. For centuries it has failed to go against the current and try to abide by theoretical principles and life styles that get shat on in practice. Stop preaching about empathy, my friend, and live like others live.

I think we might be at a misunderstanding. As I have just replied to sanchopanza about, I think you got the wrong message here. Living in perfect empathy is not realistic, and it's certainly not possible to even think about it at times.

@JCTango said:

I agree with most of what you talked about, but to me there are some things that we should, as human beings, know are inherently right or wrong.

Also, don't forget that just because you are able to see how someone could have certain insights/opinions on things, or have done the things they have, doesn't mean it justifies any wrong doing! Just as we should strive to see the other person's side, they too, should strive to see how their ways of thinking/acting could have a negative impact on society.

That's why I raised the question on the end of where you should draw the line on empathy and punishment. Punishment in itself is also a deterrent for those to keep doing wrong. If your worst punishment was a therapy session for murder, I think it would become that much more appealing.

#8 Posted by Zolkowski (56 posts) -

@Vinny_Says said:

Great, a bunch of video game nerds will now tell us about korean and world politics.

At least he was really good at looking at things....

Haha my first thoughts unfortunately too.

Though this is pretty big news for everyone.

#9 Edited by Zolkowski (56 posts) -
#10 Posted by Zolkowski (56 posts) -

@gamefreak9 said:

Yeah i Like to summarize the first couple of paragraphs as context. I always consider context to be the enemy of objectivity. fun read though, i'm not sure if I'm convinced about the importance of empathy as you describe it. I'm more interested in "what works" and though this sometimes lines up with empathy, often it doesn't.

The Oslo killings happened, I don't really care if he is let go or not, what matters is that a minimal amount of innocents are damaged. If capital punishment in this case would help achieve that by deterring future maniacs then by all means go ahead. If we don't believe it will do anything then put him in prison, even let him go if you don't think it will cause direct or indirect harm(doubtful).

Doesn't wanting what is best and what works also a concept of empathy too? Of course you are going to do best with what you currently have and it's not going to make everyone happy or safe. In perfect Utopiaville we could do all what we suggest, but realistically we can't. Having an empathetic train-of-thought just helps make you a little more of a calm person with a better evaluation on things. I think anyone in power is aware they can't display perfect empathy towards everyone, whether it's from their own biases or just the realistic limitations of our human nature and world.