It all makes sense

This is a like a video game version of The DaVinci Code. The more you read, the more it makes sense. And the sadder you’ll become.

Then read this and get really sad. (Note that there are multiple chapters):

The idea, here, is that The Sims Social is rife with sticky walls and mental fly-paper, trying to keep you staring at the world until you become so accustomed to its face it’s the same as being in love: you’re staring at your guy making nachos, or writing blog posts, because the game has attached this mammoth importance to making more money, to moving up in the world, to buying new furniture, and here it is giving you a fifty-percent bonus. You’re trapped, whether you’re actively “enjoying” yourself or not. You’re “doing it correctly”, and the game is rewarding you, and it’s easier than pressing the right buttons with the right timing in Rock Band, and all it required was a little sleight-of-brain. You feel good about yourself. You look at this cartoon world long enough, and something of an Inverse Pavlov happens. Your brain begins to know that you are “enjoying” yourself, even if you hate this insipid thing. In spite of a love-shaped hole in the center of your spirit re: this electronic monster, you will not turn away.

The game is a Chinese finger trap of the mind: soon you realize that inspiration is free, which, in economics terms, means that the inflated value of single-energy-point actions when “inspired” is not a “bonus” or a “maximum” value — it’s the baseline; it’s the “minimum”. Once you grasp that your character can be made inspired with a little flick of the game’s mechanics, you’ll never want to do money-earning actions without being inspired — and if you do (and this is the important part!) you’ll feel lazy.

Random Monday Morning Thought

Watching AMC’s The Walking Dead is severely hampering my ability to thoroughly enjoy Dead Rising 2. #ZombieGuilt

Sony, You Have It All Wrong

Allow me to respond to this video. (If you don’t see it in your reader, come to the site.)

I will admit this video is funny with the whole texting grandma bit. However, this video does not logically make sense. First, some disclaimers:

  • I like my PSP. I pull it out once every three months and play it.
  • I love my iPod touch. I use it every day for email, surfing, checking weather, and an occasional game.

Sony’s major argument is that you can play high-quality games for only $9.99. I can play three maybe four games on the iPod for that amount.

Second, this doesn’t make sense because there’s hardly anything there for $9.99. Let’s see, I can get GTA: Chinatown Wars for $10 on the App Store or $20 on PSN. Sure.

Certainly the argument can be made that there is a lot of trash on the App Store. I agree, but usually amongst the trash there is a gem or two. Before PSP fanboys get up in arms, I do have some PSN games on it, but I only ever bought them on sale (God of War, Savage Moon, Thexder Neo, Pixel Junk Monsters Deluxe, and a few other unimpressive titles).

The PSPgo had so much potential to be awesome, but there was nothing available for it but full-retail priced titles and a few small games. If the thing had been “opened” up like the App Store they’d be swimming in cash, but no, they had to keep a lid on it and so it’s a loss–for everyone.

This video does not work for me. Curiously, who does it work for? The few 13-30 somethings that are not socially connected and know better?

Games as art

I’ve always liked the quote, “I don’t know if it’s art, but I like it!” One of the biggest issues I have with the whole “Games as Art” debate is that in 10 years no one will even care.

Alright, I know that is a helluva statement to make, but let me clarify it. How many children do you know don’t play videogames? Let’s take that a step up, how many teenagers? How many twenty-somethings? Depending on who your general social crowd is, I’ll bet you don’t hit a significant group of non-videogame participants that you know until the 30’s or maybe even 40’s. Even then, they may not be in the majority.

Ta da! Videogames are mainstream. Notice the almost overnight irrelevance of Jack Thompson. Sure, we have the occasional obnoxious legislator trying to pass some bill or another, but it almost always passes in and out of the news. Some random news commentator desperate for attention may ride out the tired trope of evil videogames and protecting children, but it’s about as original as writing an article on Rock ‘N Roll and the decadent influence it has on youth.

The entire concept of what is and what isn’t “art” is fairly nebulous, but if you care about a videogame being “art” you have little to worry about. Anything that is mainstream eventually produces dedicated artistic endeavors. There are numerous games (Which I am intentionally not going to name. Can you guess why?) that are already considered “art” by the videogame community. Outside of the videogame community why would anyone care? The rantings of Ebert on the art-worthiness of videogames are about as relevant as a dog’s opinion of a squirrel. A passing distraction that causes a lot of commotion and barking but will never get.

As for me, I could care less. I don’t worry about how artistic a game is before I play. I am here to be entertained. This is not a different standard. Movies, books, and music are all things I enjoy but I feel no need to support anything for reasons beyond my personal interest. My personal opinion is that videogames are entirely better off without adding some artificial layer of snobbish elitism to them somewhere. Do we not already bemoan innovative games that don’t sell to big budget titles? Doesn’t that sound like the stereotypical struggle of the artistic endeavor already?

Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills

I wonder how this virtual reality experiment would translate to the video game world:

Even in virtual-reality settings, men will take risks to impress the opposite sex.

Does playing with a girl (either in person or online, playing in a multiplayer setting) affect the way you handle yourself in-game? I know it has affected me.