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The Journey Through Games 5/3/2013

So today will probably be a shorter post versus some of the other ones because I did not actually play much today. With work and everything it has become a little hard to power through some of the games that I wanted to play through today, but I still made some progress today. I continue to play Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and have like it a lot and has some pretty crazy parts in it, but I just don't think I'm at the good parts yet. Along with that I have played some serious Dota 2 today. All I did today was community team games today and it was the most fun with this game I've had in a long time.

No Caption Provided

So to start off with this. I've pretty much played from when you first meet Pliskin to where you beat the Fatman. And so far I'd have to say that I am not super impressed like I thought I would be. I mean all the characters I have met so far are pretty great and all, but it kind of seems like something is missing or something. I can't quite explain it. I mean I guess it may have something to do with traveling around the same six or seven rooms again and again, but I just hope that they will turn up the craziness. I mean when I met Pliskin, I knew what was going on and with pretty much the different secrets that different groups of the game have on one another. I guess the best parts about this game so far are the references to Snake's skills that you hear about and the kind of ridiculous fight with Fat Man. I mean as I was going to the stage to fight him I was thinking how is he going to move around with him being so big and slow and all. I mean what, is he gonna ride around in roller skates or something. And would you have it, as I started the fight you see him in the fast moving roller skates going around me in circles. I just had to laugh at that.

I Mean this is Ridiculous but What I am Looking For is More Ridiculous
I Mean this is Ridiculous but What I am Looking For is More Ridiculous
It Can Really Surprise You How Much Fun This Game Can Be
It Can Really Surprise You How Much Fun This Game Can Be

So after I had my short time with this I had to go to work. But Afterwards what I got into was some of the most fun Dota 2 playing I have had yet. And It all has to do with partying up with the Giant Bomb community.

Really this great community of people never cease to amaze me. When I go in with you guys to play, you are nothing but nice and helpful and fun. And even when I suck and make us lose the game personally, you don't shout and curse at me and tell me I suck. What you do do is just kindly suggest or advise to do something different so that whatever I did wrong doesn't happen again...and you quickly and quietly leave the party as fast as you can after the game is over. But that's ok. I understand. Today was the day though where I have communicated and strategized to the fullest of my capability at this point with you guys which led us to victory again and again. And really winning makes the games even better.I even played some Captain Mode games which brings team playing and strategizing to a whole new level. Even if I was a little out of my league. But who cares. I had the time of my life and that is really how everyone should experience Dota 2. It would be a much more popular game then.

So hopefully tomorrow I will trudge again through some more Metal Gear Solid 2 and play some more Dota 2 with you fine folks here at Giant Bomb. But I also probably wanna play something else to talk about on here. Maybe that new free game on Playstation Plus or something. I don't know we'll see.

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The Journey Through Video Games 5/2/2013

So today in my Journey through video games my main goal was to finish Metal Gear Solid. I really wanted to finish it and talk about the ending and all its twists. So I don't really feel that I should say spoilers of this game from this point on but I guess I will just to in case. Spoilers. There, now you're warned.

Crazy, Crazy story
Crazy, Crazy story

So what I played today is all I will be talking about in depth. And where I played today is from the second sniper fight with Sniper Wolf where she actually dies in this game all the way to the end of the game. So from where I left off fighting all these boss battles in the entire game where super fun. I wouldn't say that they were good boss battles because not many in video games are actually good, but what was great about these were that the characters were very fun...or maybe the better word would be interesting. I mean it was hilarious with Sniper Wolf as she has a real passionate admirer from Otacon who ultimately loves her just because she's a dog person like him and hasn't killed him yet, or like from Vulcan Raven where he gets straight up eaten from his own crows because that's the way he just want to go out. And you see multiple examples like that from all the big bad guys in this game. It's the good guys who are kind of boring. Even the main character, Solid Snake. I know that he probably gets much more interesting later on in other games, but in this one he has really very little emotion or change through out the game. The most he does is discover that he has feelings. Great growth there. But that's really just me trying to find faults in ultimately this really surprisingly awesome game to me.

Almost All of them Are Great Characters
Almost All of them Are Great Characters

Now I know that I glazed over some of the other great characters that I see in the end of the game like Revolver Ocelot and Liquid Snake, but I wanted to reference them more with the end of the game because I think that is where they really shine. Now once I get to the twist of finding out that I launched the nukes and all I was going crazy because I can usually figure out most twists before they come with all the clues the story gives you, but this is the first one in a long time where you can figure it out if you think hard enough about it, but I didn't and that made it all the more awesome. And with Liquid telling you about yourself being a clone made from Big Boss made this all the more super crazy and great.

But before all that I should play out how the ending goes. First you fight the metal gear after you accidentally activate it with Liquid Snake piloting it and during that fight Gray Fox comes and helps you out and tells you of his past. Now to me this becomes a super bad ass moment where he helps fight the Metal Gear and wounds it pretty bad, but by doing this ending up as just a pile of blood and guts underneath the metal gear's boot. But after that I would finish off the metal gear and would finish the game in a fantastic way. But before that I just have to say that fighting that thing with the stinger missiles and everything was not fun. That was definitely the hardest part of the game. But back to the good stuff. After you destroy metal gear you get knocked out and Liquid Snake ties you up. He then reveals the rest of the plot by telling you how you were both clones of Big Boss and how FoxDie works and how the American government is sneaky and evil and how he is going to finish Big Boss's dream. But after that fight you find out that the American Government is just going to blow up the base you are in within minutes. So the Liquid unties and then he challenges you to a fist fight to the death on top of the metal gear with Meryl, the love interest, and who I think is probably the least interesting person in this game, tied up next to you with another nuclear bomb that will blow up in 3 minutes. So now I am going to fight Liquid Snake on top of this metal gear which is huge in this base that is about to blow up any minute now from bombers from the American Government and I have to beat him in just three minutes or else we will all blow up from another nuclear bomb that Liquid Snake has set just because I guess, AND (I forgot to mention this before) if we all somehow make it out of this alive we will probably die anyways from this FoxDie virus because the government is a bunch of assholes. So ya. At the time I played this today, it felt like the greatest moment in a game that I ever played. Just straight up hilarious amazing at the situation.

Just an Amazing Moment
Just an Amazing Moment

So after this great fight is the escape sequence with Meryl which was wasn't great and Liquids return after he falls off this giant metal gear and is presumed dead. This guy comes back like three times in this game and just won't die. I bet he comes back in future games too. We'll see I guess. But basically he dies at the end for good from the FoxDie virus which doesn't bode well for Solid Snake as he can die now at anytime from it. But that can be whenever which doesn't really make any sense to me because anybody can really die from a heart attack whenever in there lives. What makes this so different? But basically the game ends with Meryl and Snake riding off in the distance. Yay! I beat the game.

But the cool part is after the credits you see Revolver Ocelot talking to somebody about his true intentions throughout his whole game. Which is makes the craziness of his game that much crazier. CRAZINESS!!!!!!

So ya a great game all around and made me super excited for the rest of the series. It actually made me so excited that I had to start the second game right away.

Only Played a Little so Far but Already Amazing
Only Played a Little so Far but Already Amazing

So I had high hopes for this game because I heard that this was a high point in the series with a lot of improvements in the first game and I have to say that I definitely agree. I can see that the gameplay is a lot more fun as it gives you a lot more options of fighting and sneaking around and movement and everything to making it a lot more of an approachable game to play. I have only played the beginning tanker part so far with Solid Snake where you find the aquatic metal gear and all hell breaks loose, but with Ocelots reveal it makes this game already crazy and amazing. I mean Revolver Ocelot has a new arm. And its Liquid Snake's. And somehow Liquid Snake's consciousness is in that arm and shares a body with Ocelot now. I don't know about you, but to me, that makes this game great right from the start.

Can't Wait to See What Else This Game Will Throw At Me
Can't Wait to See What Else This Game Will Throw At Me

So tomorrow my only thing will be to play this game. I will play as much of it as I can to talk about tomorrow because I know that it will be just craziness. I know I should probably play something else to put a little more variety on here, but we'll see. If maybe you wanna see something in particular played or talked about on here then say so in a comment. Let your voice be heard.

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Daily Gaming Blog (Working Title) 5/1/2013

Hey all,

If you don't know me yet, my name is Spencer. I am known on Steam as Spence5060, on Xbox Live Mastuh Spence, and on PSN as MastuhSpence. I know that I have said this before, but this time I have a bit more resolve. I will be creating a daily blog (or at least each day that I play video games) and talk about my experiences each day. I know that this won't be particularly super exciting to some, but some experiences I have may lead to some tangents that will have some more stimulating conversations which may be a bit more thought provoking. I may also talk about some of the Giant Bomb content on here as that also sometimes impacts what I am playing. The reason I am putting this series of blogs on Giant Bomb is because I know that this is the website with the best community out there, truly. Thank you for reading and I would love any comments or criticisms you may have.

Blog Start!

So today I have been playing the games that I have been playing kind of on a regular basis lately. These games being Dota 2 and Metal Gear Solid.

The Most Fun/Intimidating Games
The Most Fun/Intimidating Games

The reason that I have started playing these games is kind of for the same reason. It is because of recent happenings on Giant Bomb that has sparked an interest in these games towards me. I guess Dota 2 is pretty easy to figure out the source. From the recent TNT on Giant Bomb, the community has sky rocketed on it versus how it was before. I have always been interested in MOBA games but never got into Dota proper. I was always more of a League of Legends guy in the beginning before Dota 2 came out or in beta or whatever and then I tried it out about a year ago and couldn't play it. It was more of me not really having the will to learn to play it but whatever. I started really playing it about a week before the TNT of it and was actually started really enjoying it. You just have to put everything you have into it to learn how to play and well. The thing was that before the TNT there was probably ten people in the GB chat, but now after the TNT there is about 90 people in the chat on a good day. It makes it real heartening to play this game with other community members. In any game really. Playing with a community of people to mess around with that you know will be friendly will make any game a hundred times more enjoyable. So right now it is the Giant Bomb community that is keeping me on this game really. That and trying out all the different characters on here. There are so many! I just like going into a vs bot match and hit random and try out a completely new hero where most all of them play completely different.I see myself playing this for a long time.

Communities Make Games More Fun
Communities Make Games More Fun
Surprisingly Super Crazy
Surprisingly Super Crazy

Way Too Old and Hard
Way Too Old and Hard

The other game I'm playing is Metal Gear Solid. I got into this because I decided to do something else super crazy and dumb. I've started listening to all of the Giant Bomb Bombcasts from the very beginning. And in the beginning they rave about Metal Gear Solid 4 and how crazy it is. I've always wanted to play this series but never did. This gave me the opportunity to play all of them starting from the very beginning. I tried playing Metal Gear, but just couldn't hang with its old style and it being hard. I played up to the second building section, but just couldn't continue with seeing no end in sight. I wanted to get to the Solid part of the series now so I skipped the original games and just read the plots on Wikipedia. So now I am playing Metal Gear Solid and am loving it. I can't really play it in long sessions, but there seem to be so many bosses in that game that I'm fighting about one boss a game session. I just got up to the point where I have escaped capture from the enemy after where I had been tortured (that button mashing was kind of brutal) and am kind of hoping that I am at least half way done with this game. I kind of want to get to a little bit more modern crazy game. But I just want to say that I love all of these crazy character. I mean Psycho Mantis is stupid and dumb and fantastic and from what I hear on the Bombcast he only gets better later on in the series. But all of the characters are great and I am really starting to see a Hideo Kojima feel of this game with all of the quirks in it. I never really saw something like this in any other game from most any other developer, but I just don't know what it is. Well whatever. Maybe one of you can tell me.But I have been enjoying and maybe I will finish it tomorrow. The really only bummer thing about this is that I bought the HD collection and Metal Gear Solid off of PSN earlier this week and have found out today that I could have gotten them cheaper today with Play Station Plus. But oh well. Not gonna cry over it...much.


Tomorrow I will hopefully be finishing Metal Gear Solid or at least get close to it. And try to get in some more Dota 2 practice with some more random units. If anybody wants to play with me, hit me up. My username on there is Spence5060.

Thanks For Reading Y'all


Summer Has Become A Busy Time For Me.

I know that it has been ages since my last blog post and I am truly sorry for that. It's just that the summer time has become my busy time schedule wise which has surprised me most of all. But now my schedule has calmed down to where I can start writing again periodically now, which I am relieved about. So starting this upcoming week I will try and do at least one or two posts a week. I am sorry it is so few now when I used to promise you one a day when I started doing this. It is just that I have become a busy man. I have actually seen an interesting offer for doing blogs like these in a sort of Article form, mostly known as editorials in a sort of web magazine called the Luchazine. The offer seemed pretty tempting. I might just send them some sample pieces from my blog posts here and see what they think. Overall I think the idea of the magazine is great in itself. And I would think it wold be a great way to put out my thoughts like I do in my blog posts here into editorial pieces on the magazine, but that also depends on if they even like my sample pieces in the first place. But like I said and getting back to my original point, I will be returning to writing blog posts on here on a regular basis again. They will mostly, if not all, will be gaming oriented, whether it's about anything in the gaming scene or anything that is about me that relates to games.


The Fear Of Casual Games

With the release of the new I-pad and all the talk about it on here, Giant Bomb, and its affiliated site, Tested.com, I wanted to talk about new forms of gaming. I hear a lot on how people are afraid of if the way people will game is going to change. With Facebook games and I-phone and I-pad games, if since those are becoming surprisingly successful and are at low cost to make, that if this is going to change what is going to be available to us in the future. People are afraid that the focus of gaming will change from the consoles and PCs to Facebook and I-phone games.
What I want to start out with is to clear something up. We are not afraid of these games changing platforms. What we are afraid of is that our games will become almost strictly "casual". Now i quote casual because I don't think it has been clearly defined yet. A game can be casual in different people's minds. Someone who only plays and needs to play a certain game a few hours a day is probably considered a casual game to them. But Someone that is constantly playing that game non-stop all day would like to consider that game deep to them or maybe even a hardcore game because that is what they see in their eyes. Now back to my main point here. What we really are afraid of are our games in the future all sliding towards becoming casual to appeal to a wider audience of becoming a more successful game with a larger sales outcome. Now I think that this is a reasonable fear to have. I mean with the Farmville popularity who can argue? And now we are gradually seeing other developers slowly sliding over to this prospect of Free-To-Play or casual games.
Now with this argument above I'm going to really choose the other side as what I truly believe. I don't think we have anything to worry about with this new craze with the new platforms. I really think that is all this is. I think these are new platforms opening up to us that developers are jumping on. I think that this is exactly like what happened to us in the past. In the past people favored most shooter on the PC. It was a common known fact that a shooter was much more suited on the PC than anything else. But eventually developer, namely the Bungie crew, tried out a shooter for Xbox. It became one of the most popular shooter on consoles and PCs alike (it came out on the PC later on). So now shooters are much more widely accepted on the consoles, but PC gaming is still going fine. So I think if history is going to show us anything I think it'll show us examples of what to expect in the future for gaming because I think that gaming generations are just cycles of the same thing really. We will probably have new innovations each generation, but nothing will really get deleted out of gaming.
So all in all I don't think we really have anything too much to worry about. Instead be excited for these new platforms and just imagine what can come of it. "New" has always been in gaming. And "new" doesn't mean change. So have fun with your new I-pads because I think that is where you'll have our new quality games come to. And I think all we have is innovation to look forward to in the future of gaming.
So if you liked this post come check out my profile and see my other blog posts. They are all at least decently interesting topics. Now if you follow me I can promise you at least four or maybe five posts a week on their. And I always try and make them interesting and quality posts. Thanks for reading.


The Addiction of Achievements

Today's topic that I wanted to talk about is something that I'm currently suffering from as well. What I wanted to talk about is being rewarded in games. I wanted to talk about the kind of rewards we receive and the ways that rewards have made games successful today.

N ow rewards I think have evolved over the generations of gaming. I can remember back in previous generations that the best reward you can have is the feeling you get when you beat a game to it's end or beating your friend's high score in a game or even just beating them in a versus match in a game. But over the years these rewards have changed. I think that we (the player) have demanded more rewards from games. We want more to shore for our achievements in games. Now I just used the best word for these rewards, "achievements". When Microsoft implemented achievements into their console and games, it became a hit. Now at first most developers didn't think much of achievements. It was mostly because it was still a new feature and they thought of them more as an added annoyance of a requirement. But eventually they caught on to them because so many people were valuing achievements as a part of the game. So over time achievements became an addictive part of the game. And eventually Sony caught on to the whole achievement craze and patched into the PSN their own achievement system, trophies. And finally steam is the big gaming source for a sort of PC achievements. And now today we have whole sites focused on getting achievements and guides on how to get them.
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Now what makes achievements so addictive to get? From personal experience I can say that I am cursed from completionism. I have to get everything in a game no matter what. But recently, in the past few years I have mostly changed my focus on completionism towards just achievements. And by that I mean that if something doesn't pertain to having an achievement for it then there 's no guarantee that I will do, other than probably just finishing the story, but usually there's an ac hievement for that. I can say that I also get achievements because I feel like you look better with I higher score. I think that it just looks better if you have a complete 1000 points on a game. To me it almost signifies that you are a better gamer in general for it. I know that it's probably not true, but that's just how my mind works.  
What I hate about achievements though is that it has tainted my mind to playing games When given the choice to play a game I always choose the Xbox 360 be cause of the achievement system there. Now I know that the PS3 has this as well but for whatever reason I prefer the numbered point system better. It may be because that system was implemented in long before the trophy system and I've just become accustomed to the achievement system. But now I've just become accustomed to being rewarded for gaming and I hat that it has come down to this.  
Now I know that I am not the only one who has this problem. So my question to you is why do you try and get achievements? I hear some people say that it's to extend their play with a game. Others say the same thing I said with completionism. But I wanna hear what you have to say.

How do you expect to play games as a job?

I know I haven't made a blog post in a few days and I'm sorry for that. This mid-week has been busy for me. But now with a surge of followers and a little free time on this lovely Friday I had an inspiration for a new post. It was more of a rage that now I have to let steam out, but I think it is definitely an interesting one. 
What I was so mad about is that from what I heard today. First, let me back it up a little bit. I would like to consider myself a bit of a connoisseur of podcasts. I like all the popular podcasts and even some hidden gems out there on the I-Tunes world. I even discovered Giant Bomb's website from their podcast which is definitely one of my favorites. But back to what I'm trying to get at. What I heard today from a viewer question of a podcast I was listening to was a question I hear all the time that keeps making me mad. The question was something like: How do you get into the gaming press and/or the gaming industry in general. Now this question makes me mad all the time because for one, it is frequently asked where you are given pretty much the same answer, but it is still constantly asked after wards. It could be because other people just haven't heard the answer yet and are genuinely perplexed, but I think it's just because they don't like the answer given and ask other people the same question to hopefully get a better suited answer for them.
The other thing that bothers me about this question is that it people for some reason just expect i to happen to them. When ask that question the answer is usually to keep writing on your own, either with blogs or whatnot, and also to hopefully get lucky and find an opening somewhere to show your writing skills and work. Generally the advice is to just keep typing and writing about game to keep your writing skills up and even make them better. But another question I hear a lot is how did you get into the gaming industry. And the answer to that is usually by accident. I do hear people say that they were able to start out as an intern and that should be the more normal route, but I seem to hear a lot that it was by accident from a lot of people. I hear that they say somehow they got a job interview in some crazy way and that that was how it happened. Now this troubles me because I seem to see that other people almost expect that to happen to them. People think that if it could happen to this guy then it could happen to me. I hate how people think of themselves of being special over the rest. It doesn't really sicken me per say, but it definitely disappoints me.
Now I think this line of work is definitely a hard line of work to get into. You have to be a popular site or news source to get any kind of coverage or if you want to a job with a more popular site then you have to wait for an opening, which almost never happens, and when it does happen it is very hard  to get it because you are definitely fighting for that job with many others that may very well be better than you. What I'm trying to say is that you have a very large amount of people who want into this business with very low availability, especially now. And I hate how people are almost just expecting this to happen for them or I see how they open up their own sites and at least hope for some recognition and become a popular site. This doesn't bother me as much because it does show that it they are at least trying, but what does bother me is that there are so many of these sites that it almost becomes just cluttered full of wannabe journalists that just take news off of other sites and put them on their own.
Now I may just be mad about this because I'm just jaded and am at the same disadvantage of everyone else. I hate how the circumstances have stacked themselves into this. Now I haven't made my life decision yet and decided if this is the line of work that I want to get into. Because this business is so hard to get into  is a definite contributing factor of why I haven't chosen. But all I can do is keep on writing and hopefully get better and see what happens in the future. I just want to stop hearing other people ask on how to get into  the business when they think that if they get the training for it then they will somehow magically get in if a job opens up. Again this is probably just me hating the fact that there is a lot of competition out there for this kind of job.
Now what I want hear is how do you expect to get into the gaming industry? How are you gonna make it in and what are you doing now to make that happen? I can say I have at least made this blog, which I can't say is much, but at least can say is something.
Now to do a bit of promoting. Please follow me and see my work come out on my blog posts regularly. I know this is my first one in a couple days but I am trying to do one as regularly as possible. Come see my other work that's already out and feel free to comment on anything. Thanks for reading and make sure to comment on this one for interesting talk.


The Need to be the Hero

This blog post today is gonna be a shorter one I think. This one is going to do with a lot of what I was talking about yesterday of how morality systems in games work. I think this one is going to be shorter is because a lot of what this blog post is going to be about is already said in my post previous to this one. It may also be because I may not have as much time on my hands during the mid-week to write lengthier posts.
What I wanted to talk about today is something that I hinted at a bit yesterday. That is that in morality systems you are given a choice in games. And that choice is that during certain parts of the game do you want to make a good choice or an evil choice. Usually in the game you have multiple opportunities to make a decision to pull your character to one side. This kind of game I think interests me more than any other kind of game out there. That's because the game's outcome is usually what you want it to be whether it's good or bad. So when I get excited about a game like this I ask my friends how they played the game because I know that it would be different from mine because everybody plays these kinds of game differently, right? The shocking this is that they really don't. My own play style is that if there are multiple endings to a game then I would play the good side first and after I've seen that, then I would see what some of the other ones are whether they are less good or just plain evil. The surprising thing is that that is how most everyone I've asked plays. Everyone would play the good side then play the evil side. Now what I'm wondering is that if this is how most all gamers play then why is that? Now I know that now everyone plays this way of course. I can definitely bet that there are some people out there that play the evil side or or even the evil side only.
Now when I wonder why a person would do this I have come up with a couple of different theories. One is that everyone wants to be the hero. No one ever wants to be the bad guy in the movie because he never wins. From this I guess that it's just human nature for us. One of my other theories is that because most of us have played so many video games in the past that we've been trained to become a hero. What I mean by this is that in most games we play we ultimately become the hero as the character. By the end of the game we save the love interest in the story and probably the whole world or something. The thing is that that is usually the end result of most all games we play, unless the whole point of the game is to be the evil character in the game to rule the world, but that is a every small majority comparatively. I wouldn't exactly call this like training for the mind of other games as it is more of a force of habit.
Another thing that boggles my mind is that what we see even less than choosing the evil side first is that we don't see any mixed decisions of characters. What I mean by that is that we don't see anybody that would maybe make a decision that would best suit the situation. We would only see people make all good decisions or all bad decisions in  game. We don't see anybody, for example, help this person out because we will feel good for it and then kill this next dude because he was an asshole to you. You just don't see anything like that anymore. It's just interesting to me that people are almost in a way playing by the guidelines of the game of being only all good or all evil. I really believe that if you were to just play a run through a game and making the decisions you want to make as a player and a person, then i think you would have more fun then than any other time you've played that game. But again you can confuse what you want and in your best interests with the want to be the hero. But again that's just human nature.
Wow. That was a shorter one compared to my other earlier blog posts. Okay, well this next part is for all the people new to my blog post. This blog that I am doing will have new and interesting posts will be going up daily. Yes, each and every day. It is becoming a little harder to do one every day so I may eventually be doing one every other day. But for the time being expect a new one each and every day. And please feel free to comment on them. Please tell me if you agree or not on what I've written. Thanks for reading.


Choices: Good Vs. Evil

When thinking about the topic that I was going to write today I was playing Fable 2. One of those trusty RPG games with a morality system in it. Morality is an interesting concept in games even today, even though it was being used on last generation games. From what I can see that so far every game that has a morality system in it has made it at least somewhat better. Games now though, namely RPGs, are very common to have morality systems in there because they do almost always make the game better. Thankfully there hasn't been a game yet where it was just shoe horned in there to give it better review scores or anything. That is at least I haven't seen one yet. But what I really wanted to talk about today is how the morality system could be improved and because now I'm sort of getting to the point where some of these systems in a few games are becoming a little samey. There are a few games out there where they just put in right, but they don't really make it their own.
So what makes the morality system so appealing? Why does this concept make every RPG it's been in better? It goes back to what I said yesterday about "self-help" games. The player wants some sort of feedback that shows up what they are achieving. They want to see that their character is evil because they are killing innocent people or what have you. They want to see the hard work they've put into a character show up some how to be their own. This is how the morality system works. You begin the game with a general character, and by the end of the game the character is you or what you wanted him to be. You made choices in the game that have shaped your character into you because those are the choices that you thought were the right ones for you. You could have also just made certain choices to be an asshole just because you wanted to. But still by the end you can say I have been through a story and the outcome is what I wanted it to be. Or better yet the outcome is not what you wanted it to be. If you had regrets in the choices you made in the game because of the consequences of that choice, then to me that's good. I think a hard choice in a game makes the morality system just even better. And now different developers are trying to make this system into their own and make it good.
Now recently games have made it where the choices not only affect you, but also affect the game world drastically. I mean in the past games have done this, but they haven't really made the two different outcomes of good and evil that drastically different. But just recently, like Fable 2 surprisingly, has made it where your major decisions in the game have changed the world around you. Even just some small decisions have changed the towns. Like you can make certain business related choices in that game to change a town's economy. And you don't even have to make that choice. You can just leave the town be and see if it prospers on its own. That's what I liked about Fable 2. The smallest choices in this game could impact an entire town's economy. But there are other aspects to this game which determines your alliance of good vs. evil. You can have a family, cheat on them, have multiple families, divorce them, kill them. There are so many social choices in this game that you make that can shift you morality. And that is where I think the highlights of Fable 2's take on the morality system. I think they did a lot to make it its own, but for me others did it better.
Another RPG that should get some credit for making this system work is Fallout 3. Now if you want a game that could change the entire game world I think Fallout 3 is your game. This game does have a moral system, but not one as deep as some other games have. What this game does exceed at doing is that you can do pretty much anything in this game to change the world around it.You can blow end entire cities or kill anyone you want. It doesn't even matter if they are a quest related person. There are a few characters that you can't kill because of their relation to the main quest, but anyone else is up for grabs. I think that is what make this game special for me. This game gives you the choice of doing anything you want and it's your story.
Now my last example is the one that I really wanted to talk about today. This is not a game, but a developer. Bioware. Bioware is a developer that truly made this concept
BioWare Company Logo
  into their own. They have made multiple franchises now that makes this system great. The first game is the Mass Effect series. These games have surprised us all with creating a trilogy of games that will cross over your story into the next one with your choices. To me this is one of, if not the best, ways to do a morality and choice system. This made the story one of the most enjoyable stories I have ever played through. When I was playing Mass Effect 1 I just felt how I usually feel in most other choice based games. It was that I started out with a generic character in the beginning and made him into my own by the end. But in Mass Effect 2 I was playing me from beginning to end. I felt like I was truly playing my story in this universe from beginning to end. I mean usually in a game you would have these vague characters that would come up to you like they would know you and you would learn some part about your character's back story then. But in here when a character from your past comes you already know who that is. You already know that you have somehow have dealt with this character from your own choices again. It is what makes this game truly special. But this game has one problem to it. This problem is what almost all other choice based games have. It's that the choices you make are always black and white. What I mean by that is that all games you would usually choose choices that were all good choices or all bad choices. And usually those choices are clearly defined as good or bad. As an example, in Mass Effect the good choice is always on top and the bad choice is always on the bottom. This makes the choice system almost dull because you always know which one you're gonna choose even before you make it.
There is one game that fixes the problem that I said above. That is Dragon Age: Origins. This is another Bioware game that I think deserves praise. This game has a very in depth story that changes the morality system a bit. It doesn't have a morality system, but it does still have a choice system. You still make choices in this game that shapes the word and the story around you but you don't have a clear definition of what is the good choice and what is the bad choice. They are all kind of in the gray area. That is what I think makes this a superb moral game. You are given these choices which are hard to choose because one will benefit a certain group of people, but still hurt others. I think that this is the perfect time that this game to come out. Right now we are so used to the idea of making good and evil choices that I think the idea of a gray are choice makes this different in the best way possible.
Now that I've given a few examples I just wanted to say what would make the perfect morality system in a game for me. If you were to combine all the highlights of the examples I put above, I think it would make an amazing game. If you were to the social choices of Fable 2, with the openness of Fallout 3, with the continuing storyline of Mass Effect, and finally with the gray area choices of Dragon Age: Origins you could make one hell of a game. Of course that's just what I think. 
This last bit is just for to tell everyone that's not already following my blog to start following my blog posts here, but only if you like them. This isn't for any of that quest stuff that's popping up. I just want to get my thoughts out there. But to tell me if you like it or not. Tell me if you agree with what I said. Feedback is warmly accepted. I will try and put a new post up on my blog daily. Again the main word is try. And I will try to make them interesting. Thanks for reading.

Self-Help Games


US Box Art
  The first thing I wanted to talk about on my blog was something that kind of just hit me today. It all started today when I went to go take my SAT test. You see after I finished my test my mind was on to things. My first thoughts were obviously about how well I did on my test scores but also about what I could possibly talk about here today that would be even decently interesting. So then it just hit me. The two thoughts came together into one. Brain Age. I know, crazy. What an odd game to just come as your starting topic. But then it just makes sense. Why do you take SAT tests? Yes, I know you take them to get into good colleges and all. But what I mean is why do the colleges want your SAT test scores? It's because they want to know how smart you are. And why do they let you take them multiple times? That is because they want you to learn from your past times taking it and to do better net time. Now back to my main point. When I compared this to Brain Age I was actually a little shocked at the similarities. I was going through them in my head on the way home from the campus. And then I realized that there has been a very popularized game on the Nintendo DS that is just a game about tests. 
Now I consider myself still a teenager but I don't think I am very far off from saying that most adults out there hated tests when they were in school, and I know that the vast majority of kids now, if not all, hate tests at school. But then this brings me to my next question I thought about. If Brain Age is just a video games of tests than why is it so popular adn liked by so many people. That's when it hit me again. The answer is that it is a sort of self help game. The branding for this entire franchise of Brain Age games is all about making you smarter, making you better. So I really started to question that concept. Will people really go out and buy games like this just because it's a "self-help" game. 
When I started thinking about the real success of "self-help" games I was almost enlightened in a way. It all came at me at once. These games for whatever reason are moneymaker games. The clear distinction that I could think of was Wii Fit. That is probably one of the most successful games on the Wii. I know what some would say to that. They would say, "most people just bought the Wii Fit game for the Balance Board." But now think about this. What other games did you play on that Wii Balance Board that was so good that you had to buy this whole package for it. I don't think there was many if not any. Now everyone that played that game maybe kept playing for a week to see if the thing works or is fun or not. But probably not many stuck with it. It's probably now more for the younger kids to just play the mini-games on it because those are marginally fun. But the genius that I saw was that everyone wanted to at least try it. And when people saw a spike in sales and the marketing behind that game, there's where the next waves of people came in and started buying it to try it out for themselves. And I think that is what caused this game to become one of the biggest selling games on the Wii. Now I also think that this was the same kind of process for Brain Age, but maybe at a much lesser extent. I mean they're still continuing to ship out these kinds of games with Cooking Coach. That is probably one of the farthest things from a game that they are shipping out. I mean all you do in that game is learn how to cook. It's just a game full of recipes. That's all it is. But they've seen from past experiences that this kind of stuff works and that's why they have somewhat of a marketing campaign behind it. I don't know if this game will have any sort of sales but I can say I kind of hope it doesn't to show that we still want our games in our "self-help" games too.
What causes these games to sell is not the actual quality of how well they make you smarter or make you more fit. I mean I don't think I've ever seen anyone become super fit from Wii Fit. But what compels the average gamer, or more likely the average non-gamer that has maybe a Wii or a DS, to buy these games is that the concept of playing that game that also improves you in some way while playing it. I really do believe that this is the big secret. Or at least a theory.
Now maybe one last thought on this subject before I wrap things up is that from all these titles that I have mentioned above, what do they all have in common besides being these "self-help" games. It's that they are all being made by Nintendo. Now if you want to know which platform I think has the best business smarts is Nintendo. I know that they don't have the great support from fans and fan boys like Microsoft and Sony have. But I do know that Nintendo definitely knows how to sell. I think that Nintendo hit a goldmine on these "self help" games earlier than any of the other platforms did. Now I do know that the Xbox and PS2 had some early fitness games like My Fitness. But I don't think they had the kind of marketing for that that Nintendo has. I also think that some of the credit does ave to go with the peripheral as well. That balance board made it accessible to the average person as well as the gamer because like the old fitness games it was easy to use, you just used your body, but it also gave you feedback of if you were doing it right. I think the combination of those two features made Wii Fit the success that it is today along with the concept of the whole thing like I said before and marketing. I think we're just starting to see the other platforms catch on with this idea with their own motion controls and their own fitness games with them. I know that the next edition of the EA Sports Active game will be coming to the PS3 Move and I also think that the Natal for the Xbox 360 will have their own fitness game as well for it. I think that they are realizing that magic combination of simplicity and feedback that their past few fitness game attempts have failed.
Now i think that was pretty good for a first real blog post topic. For anyone still reading this if you thought that this was interesting at all I'm gonna keep this actively going on my blogs page on my profile here on Giant Bomb. I am gonna try and do a new topic almost everyday. I will try and keep them at least a little interesting like this one (if this one was interesting at all to you guys). But some I know will be better than this so there is some relief. Thanks for reading.
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