Enough With The Insults Please

Posted: November 27, 2011 by iancox1986 in General

So, it’s been a long time since anything was written here. Sorry about that. Life, you know? But now I need to share something that’s making me really quite, quite angry.

Usually when I write here, I come up with a draft in Word, have it proof-read, then copy it wholesale into the blog and format it. Today, I’m writing directly into the blog. This is coming off the cuff, there’s nothing pre-planned or edited in this; so if it’s a little rough around the edges, you have my apologies.

Being the modern type that I am, I have this morning been listening to the radio. I know, I know, it’s like it’s 1952! Anyway, to name and shame, I was listening to a Radio 5 programme called ‘Double Take’; which is presented by what sounds like (and from the website, certainly looks to be) two middle aged woman, complaining….sorry, reporting about the week’s stories.

I happened to turn on just as they were on that favourite hobby horse of middle aged women everywhere; tut-tutting about violent video games. Of course, this piqued my interest; I’m 25 years old and have been gaming for in excess of twenty years. As I tuned in, they were speaking about gamers cannot separate gaming from reality; how if they drop a pencil, they look for a button to pick it up, rather than bending down to get it themselves. Before I could get indignant about this, they asked an ‘expert’; who reasonably said, that yes, if someone has been playing a game for an extended period of time, they may for a split second have a reflex to perform a gaming action, but can easily differentiate gaming from reality, and so would never actually perform this action.

Of course, our MAW hosts (this is how I will now refer to them) took this and ran with it. ‘There you have it, gamers try to perform gaming actions as a reflex!’ Er, no. That’s not what she said. But let’s not allow that to get in the way of your crusade!

The MAW

Probably not the radio hosts.

Their next attack was to point towards ‘mounting evidence’ that there is a link between violent games and violent crime. Of course, they then managed to completely fail to present any of this ‘mounting evidence’; surely we’re meant to just take the MAW at their word. Frankly, I have mounting evidence that I should be the King of the Universe, but I’m not going to bother you with actually presenting said evidence; you should just believe me. Or, because I’m a gamer, run away screaming just in case I murder you. Hard. In the face.

They then spoke to a gamer that they had tamed for the occasion. I assume that they had him chained up and popped into a straighjacket, just in case he tried to plug a memory card into their foreheads to download their brains. He quite rightly pointed out that gaming has in fact proven very useful; helping surgeons with hand-eye co-ordination for example, and as a theraputic tool. He also stated that if we were to go on anecdotal evidence, then he is an example sat right in front of them; someone that’s been playing games (even – gasp! – violent games) for 20 years and hasn’t even killed a single person in real life!

Gamers busy not murdering people.

The MAW then quickly cut to the news, not being able to put a negative spin on this. After the news, we have some tweets read from listeners; another MAW that calls games ‘bad, bad, bad, bad, bad’ and thanks the presenting MAWs (now there’s a nasty image…) for highlighting this on the radio. I can only assume that her only experience of gaming is Carnival Games on the Wii; that would make think gaming was bad too.

We then have a tweet from a teacher – a paragon of morals and virtue, charged with moulding our little cherubs into fine and upstanding members of society. She comments that many of her students were off school the day that Call of Duty was released, so they must have been up all night playing it. Also, because of these games, all of her students are almost completely desensitized to violence, which is  BIG PROBLEM. The MAW appeared to pronounce both the capitals and the italics over the air; impressive.

Frankly, this is another opinion borne from scaremongering of the media, mixed with a lack of understanding of the games. I mentioned earlier that I have been gaming for over twenty years; a lot of games that I’ve played could be considered ‘violent’. However, far from being desensitized, I’m completely squeamish; papercuts make me feel nauseous, let alone the thought of genuine violence. I realise that I’m taking a focus group of one here, but that doesn’t suggest to me that we’re going to have a generation of people running around shooting each other because they expect their health to regenerate (which is another argument in itself).

The reason that I’m so hacked off at this is that my hobby, and the hobby of millions of others, is seen as fair game for the general populace and mass media to attack as evil, bad, rotten. And because I’m a gamer, I’m a problem. People ask I why I still play with something for kids; the same people that say kids shouldn’t play them because they’re violent (go figure). People ask why I don’t do something productive with my time, like watch a film or play some sport. This, apparently, is productive. I point out that actually, I’m not glued to my sofa; I have a full time job, I play a lot of sport when time permits, spend time with my family, go to the gym, and take part in other well rounded and wholesome activities. But, because I’m a confessed gamer, I’m frowned upon.

I thought, when these same opinions were being cast around ten years ago, that as a society we’d move on beyond seeing gaming as a boogie man. But it seems that we’ve gone backwards, and the hysteria is worse than ever. The problem is, only gamers will think to read this. Therein lies the problem; within the bubble, we know that we’re not pyschopathic face-murderers. But those on the outside refuse to look in, and instead paint as some sort of child eating monsters. Frankly, it’s getting harder to take.

I have no suggestions on how to change this; all the time that the mass population is being spoon fed scare stories from the popular media, we have no chance. So here’s what we do; enjoy our hobby. Ignore those that don’t get it. Because, remember, they were once like us; listening to music their parents didn’t get. But, don’t judge them. That would make us just as bad. Instead, inform, and if they still refuse, agree to disagree; hold the high ground.

Like I said; this would be rough around the edges. But hopefully, it hasn’t been too incoherent.

Ian

Hello everyone. Below is an extract from my latest article over at deathbyrobots!

The future is looking bright for Sony in the last week. A strong showing at E3 and the PSN troubles seeming like nothing more then a bad day at the office and we find ourselves at the end of June, and with it we find ourselves in Uncharted territory. While you chuckle away at that coy play on words I’ll recap for whomever maybe late to this particular article.

Uncharted 3′s multiplayer beta launched on June 28th with enough content to satisfy even the most eager fans. The beta is open to anyone with a Playstation Plus account or a copy of Infamous 2. If you’re desperate to play, don’t bother picking up Infamous 2 unless you really want it, as everyone should have a Playstation Plus account thanks to the ‘Welcome Back’ package from Sony. So if you’ve been interested in the Uncharted series over the last few years; now there is a free way to find out what the latest iteration of the multiplayer is like at least.

I’ve sunk a few hours into the beta, mainly focusing on the Team Death Match game type at this stage, so that I could get a feel for the game again. While I did play Uncharted 2 and it’s multiplayer I wasn’t excellent at it, and did arrive to it several months after its release.

As I started the game and began searching for a match I was immediately impressed with the presentation of the game. I had my loadout, character and emblem customisation on the left, the matchmaking on the right and ‘Uncharted TV’ in the lower right hand corner. For a beta this was a very tidy setup and this reflects the finished product then it’s very fluid and a joy to use.

To read the full article and the thoughts of another writer on the beta, head over to deathbyrobots now.

You can follow me on Twitter: @Chris_Toffer101
Follow antiherogaming on Twitter to: @antiherogaming
For all the news on gaming (and the war on the robot menace) follow DBR on Twitter! @deathbyrobots

Weee-ooo.

Ok, I’ve got that out of my system now. But come on, really? You’d have thought the big N would have learned their lesson with naming by now…

Anyway, I thought that now E3 is over, I’d start arranging my rambling and dangerous thoughts into something vaguely coherent. Today I’m exploring my thoughts on the newly announced Nintendo Wii-U; some Ninty fanboys may want to look away now…

The nPad

It would be daft to start anywhere other than the elephant in the room; that controller. It’s like the bastard offspring of a DS and an iPad, and frankly doesn’t live up to the lofty heights of either parent. It looks like a FisherPrice toy, and enjoys something of an identity crisis as I can see. Is it a controller? Is it a handheld? Is it a tablet? I’d put my money on Nintendo trying to use it as all three, and coming up short.

wiiPad

wiiPad

To be fair to it, it’s certainly innovative. The idea of switching between handheld and console is certainly an interesting one, and used innovatively could be a fantastic step forward for the industry. However, I have concerns. It has been announced that so far there only plans for one of these controllers to be used with a console at a time; other players will be forced onto wiimotes/classic controllers. Not so impressive.

Also, I can see Sony sneaking up and stealing Nintendo’s thunder with the Vita. It’s close to PS3 spec, and will inevitably interact with the console in the future – Naughty Dog have already stated that the Uncharted game for Vita will interact with Uncharted 3 on PS3. Sony has a track record here, too; the remote play function of the PSP is not well known, but it was fantastically implemented. In trying to be too clever, Nintendo could be late to their own party.

PS Vita - Weeoo killer?

Spec

So far we know that the Wii-U will handle up to 1080p graphics, but we so far have no details on actual spec. Several third party developers have said that their cross-platform games will appear on the Wii-U, but that raises some questions for me. If the Wii-U is (as rumoured) of superior spec to even the PS3, will the ports take advantage of this, or be straight ports from the other consoles, thus rendering the extra spec pointless? Or will they be optimised, but inevitably take longer to arrive, thus leaving the Wii-U at a time lag disadvantage?

As with the previous couple of generations, the Wii-U will live or die on its first party exclusives. Rabid fanboys will eat up the inevitable HD iterations of Zelda, Mario and the like, but will that be enough to sway other gamers that have already been spoiled by the HD class of Xbox360 and PS3? Nintendo’s leap into HD isn’t nearly as jaw dropping as Microsoft’s and Sony’s, simply because it is already the norm.

Price

A big one, this. How much will the controller drive up the price of the system? Are Nintendo going to have to abandon (to an extend) the ‘casual’ market that made the Wii so successful? Will the hardware and more ‘serious’ games appeal to a generation of gamers that’s already shelled out for one or both of the established HD giants enough to part with yet more cash? Ninty have so far proved recession proof by driving into a new market, but trying to step back into an already (over?)saturated marketplace in challenging economic conditions will certainly represent a big gamble. Indeed, Iwata himself has said that this new console ‘won’t be cheap‘.

Until more is announced about the Wii-U, I’m certainly not leaping on the ‘day one purchase’ bandwagon. Rabid Nintendo fanboys won’t care a jot about anything I’ve just said; they’ll just be salivating at yet another facsimile Zelda adventure made shinier with HD graphics. But what about everyone else? The floating gamer that just likes to bust out Wii-Sports or Rock Band every now and then?

Let me know your thoughts on the new console. It would be interesting to see what effect the announcement has really had.

Once again it’s that time of year; when every gamer prepares themselves for a week of non-stop information about what to expect from the industry in the next year. This E3 is one that promises to be one to remember for a number of reasons, from the long list of high quality titles, to the potential for new console announcements. The run up to E3 has left us with a many questions about many of the potential releases that will come in the next twelve months and beyond. Read on to find out about the ones you need to be aware of.
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I’ve kept quiet for long enough on this subject. I find it difficult to speak about; simply because the total onslaught of opposition I have on the topic. It’s no surprise to anyone that a good portion of video gamers are ridiculously devoted to certain games. Some gamers would defend them, even in face of indisputable evidence, that a certain feature was poor in comparison to anotherSome of them are ‘fan boys’, some are people who genuinely enjoy the game and some are just jumping on the bandwagon because they love a good bit of mindless devotion. It’s for these reasons that I tentatively approach the subject of one of the worlds biggest first person shooters: Halo.

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Multiplayer Mayhem (I Miss You)

Posted: May 22, 2011 by iancox1986 in Features, General
Tags: , ,

Multiplayer Mayhem

So after a long hiatus from writing (I’m blaming the combination of a broken finger and an even more broken laptop), I thought it was about time I bored the internet with my thoughts
again. The basis for this blog struck me a few weeks ago – those of you not living under a rock will, of course, realise that this was slap bang in the middle of the PSN down time.
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Today’s gaming industry is a fast moving one. Trends come and go, games flourish or wither depending on a large number of variables – developers on the climb one month, find themselves languishing and in danger the next. At the heart of the goings on is the game and the humble gamer. Generally we are an easy bunch to please. I know that we have a reputation for being a fickle crowd, but those people I truly believe are in a minority. There’s plenty of variety out there currently and getting hold of games has never been easier or cheaper. Are we really getting value for our money though? Are developers giving us what they were ten years ago? In some ways that humble gamer has never had it better but in others we’re being robbed.
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