Crime in Video Games and Why Even Kirby Commits It

Why is crime okay in video games?  And no, I’m not talking about “Grand Theft Auto”.  I’m talking about games like “The Legend of Zelda” and “Kirby”.  Yep, even in games like those, things that would be considered wrong in real life are deemed perfectly acceptable.  What am I talking about?  Well, have you ever thought twice about walking into a stranger’s house in “Zelda”?  And if there is an item, do you not take it?  The answer to these questions is a no and a yes, respectively.  In the video game universe, any item in a treasure chest is up for grabs, whether it be in some deep, dark woods or someone’s home.  Stealing is okay.  Because that’s exactly what it is.  Stealing.  If someone walks into my house, even if I leave the door unlocked, and takes items out of my treasure chest (okay, I don’t own a treasure chest, nor would it be wise to put items in it, as it would suggest they are, well, treasure), I would come after you.  Don’t you rob me, you scoundrel!  But, Link does it all the time, and it’s fine.  Walking into people’s houses is an even more common practice, but you certainly wouldn’t like it if I did it to you, now would you?  (“Rayman 3” even involves our hero trespassing into someone’s house, then proceeding to assault the owner, and somehow the owner is portrayed as a villain because he fights back.)

And then, have you ever played a “Kirby” game and decided to attack those poor, little Waddle Dees just for the sake of it?  Of course, you have.  But, most of the time, are they really doing anything but taking a stroll or gently drifting down from the heavens with an umbrella to slow their descent?  Why do we not only feel the need to maul these poor creatures, but feel justified in doing so?  Again, if you attacked me while I was simply minding my own business, taking a walk (while trying to find a place to hide my treasure chest so people stop helping themselves to its contents) or participating in my own drift down from the heavens with a bumbershoot of my own, I would be quite peeved, to say the least.  It would be uncalled for, sir!  But, in a video game, it’s perfectly fine to attack those who are doing nothing or wild animals simply defending themselves. Continue reading Crime in Video Games and Why Even Kirby Commits It

Smashmuck Champions: PAX Interview

image from Smashmuck.com
image from Smashmuck.com

Smashmuck Champions was the first game that I had the pleasure of trying out while at PAX Prime. It’s an online battle arena in the same vein as League of Legends, but rather than being a simple clone of the more popular games in the genre, Smashmuck Champions strives to do things its own way. I’ve never played League of Legends or DotA 2 so I can’t tell you how exactly the game stacks up against them. What I can say is that the game I played at the Smashmuck booth felt good. Really good! The environments were colorful yet treacherous, the characters controlled well and were easy to use and understand, and the game moved quickly without feeling rushed. Beyond all that, this is a game that has personality! The look is unique each map has its own brand of manic action going on in the background which also interacts with your match. Combine this with a roster of unusual characters that each have a unique qwirk to them, and you have the makings of something special.
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The Potential Future of Playstation’s Past

Image by Flickr User: insidethemagic
Image by Flickr User: insidethemagic

Ever since Sony acquired Gaikai from David Perry back in June of 2012, there has been speculation as to what the consumer electronics giant will do with the streaming service.  First thought to be a sort of upgrade to the Playstation 3, then assumed to be a cloud media server for the PS4, Sony’s president has come forth in a recent interview with more details on future plans.  Shuhei Yoshida spoke of an, “ultimate goal to bring Playstation games to all devices,” and “going from hardware to something closer to a service, regardless of the device.”  He goes on to say that the PS4 would remain the center of their focus, even when considering other hardware avenues.

Sony is certainly not the first company to make a go at streaming games or a cloud-based service.  Companies like OnLive and GameTap have been in the business for years.  But these comments from Sony’s president could have huge implications for the future of gaming.  Just imagine if Sony moves outside of their proprietary consoles and becomes a video game company based mostly on a streaming service.  With a robust catalog of titles to pull from, Sony could create a sort of Netflix for video games: a flat monthly fee to play hundreds of classics from the Playstation 1, 2, and 3.

There are plenty of hurdles in such a move.  As Microsoft found out earlier this year with the “always online” debacle, not every consumer has access to a hearty internet connection.  On top of the headache that is server maintenance and running a smooth streaming service, most of the games that mark Sony’s rise to fame are third-party titles, so negotiations and licenses must be taken into consideration.   But if all of these challenges could be met, Sony would make quite an impact on the gaming market, and potentially earn piles of money in the process.  The bottom line to consider: just how many players would be interested in such a service and how much are they willing to pay?

Just speaking for the GIMMGP Headquarters, I know of at least two players would pay a good amount to stream dozens of Playstation games.

-Chip, Games I Made My Girlfriend Play

We explore, therefore we are

Image by Flickr user dadillydog
Image by Flickr user dadillydog

“My problem with these games is that I end up exploring rather than following the story. And then I just want to keep on exploring.” My husband said to me as he traversed the outskirts of Los Santos in GTA V.

I paused and then responded, “Is that a bad thing?”

That’s the point with open world games, after all. Players dictate what their characters do and where they go. But where’s the appeal in deviating completely from the main story and going off on one’s own? What’s in it for the player? Why do we so enjoy exploring in video games?

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There’s Always Time for Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing has always been a bit of an anomaly for me. I was 13 when the original came out on the Gamecube back in 2002. I remember seeing the commercials for the game and thinking: “That looks like the dumbest game I have ever seen.” How could I not? The commercials had a bad sitcom vibe to them and the gameplay looked like nothing more than just walking around a lot. It looked stupid. It looked boring. It looked like the exact opposite of the kinds of games I liked: thrilling adventure and platforming games. However, a friend of mine got the game and insisted that it was good and that I’d love it if I gave it a chance, and oddly enough they were right. I wound up sinking dozens of hours into it without the slightest idea of why I enjoyed it so much. The original Animal Crossing was a huge departure from the norm for me, and its sequel, Animal Crossing: Wild World on the Nintendo DS, was also the last mobile game that I spent any significant amount of time in the last several years after it’s release.
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Resonance: Rundas Battle

Image from Flickr User:  PseudoGil
Image from Flickr User: PseudoGil

The Metroid games are quite rich in memorable themes, so much so in fact that we could spend the next several months of this series analyzing them. Perhaps we will, but for now let’s start with “VS. Rundas” from Metroid Prime 3.  To begin, please take a minute to listen to the theme. Think about the tones and themes you’re hearing in the song; about the emotions and thoughts it elicits. What do you hear in this piece, what situations come to mind? Take your time.
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Trust Your Instincts

Image from Flickr User: AXLiberty
Image from Flickr User:
AXLiberty

There’s a saying that I’ve found to be particularly true when it comes to gaming: “You know what you like.” In this age of information many of us have reached a point where what everyone else says about something informs our own opinions. We have so many people out there telling us what games we should and shouldn’t like  that even the most independent-minded of us, who do indeed know what they like, can’t help but be affected.
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