Thursday, July 10, 2014

I am not a sucker

Dear game publishers everywhere,

I'm almost 30, finishing a Ph.D studying musicology with a focus on game audio.  I know a lot about the industry I love so much, both the positives and the negatives.  I love games, and am very likely to pass that tradition down to my son and any other future children I may have, meaning that there is at least another 25 years of money coming to you from my (and/or Owen's, someday) wallet.

That being said, I am no longer a teenager, but an adult who expects to be treated as such.  As a result, I will no longer buy any video game at full price that does any of the following:

1) Contains retailer-exclusive content.

You do not have the right to tell me where to shop.  Whether I buy your product at Target, Amazon, or Best Buy should not matter to you.  If I decide to buy your game at the same time I am buying my child his food, I should be able to do that.  If I decide to buy it online after reading something cool about it on Polygon or Game Informer, I should also be able to do that.  You don't get to veto either of those options, ever.

2) Contains pre-order exclusive DLC.

Similarly, you don't get to tell me when you buy your product.  Especially when that time is before I get to hear anything about anyone having played the retail edition of a game.  I will not spend $60 for the chance that your game might be good, and I especially won't spend $60 a week later when you refuse to sell me the entire product.  I try new candy bars at the grocery store all the time knowing nothing about them but what I read on the packaging.  If you want me to do the same for your games, then offer them up for a dollar as well -- more expensive products get more scrutiny.

3) Purposely releases a limited run so the second printing can be sold for a higher cost.

I bought Metroid Prime Trilogy the day it released, in the nice metal box, and it looks awesome on my shelf, and was happy to pay $40 for it on the first day it was available (note: I did not pre-order it).  Imagine my surprise when Gamestop began charging $70 or $80 for it in the next few weeks, after all of the first-run copies were gone!  Even worse, Xenoblade, which I'm told is among the best JRPGs released on the last generation of consoles, was purposely published in limited quantities by Gamestop so that they could charge more to their most dedicated fans.

They even had the nerve to claim that a $40 price would be a Black Friday shopping special for both of those games last year.  Let me put it to you plainly:  Full price is not a deal, and you only encourage piracy by doing this.  The truth that games depreciate in value over time is a reality for my personal collection, and it's a reality that publishers must also accept.

*) The only acceptable incentive for a pre-order is some form of financial discount.

This can be a straight price discount (many games on Steam offer a 10% discount for pre-ordering), some non-exclusive DLC that you get as a bonus for pre-ordering (see: Ultra Street Fighter IV's bonus costumes), or more product that the money is strictly worth (for instance, if buying Arkham Knight in advance would give you a copy of one of the other three Arkham games as a downloadable bonus while you awaited the release of the new one).

One more caveat:  I'm not necessarily opposed to incentives for buying new instead of used, such as Arkham City's Catwoman content, but that's a discussion for another day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Impressions of the first "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" video

First of all, I'd like to say that the video does an admirable job of laying out the basic issue.  Keep in mind, those of us that are already aware of these issues in a number of games (especially Mario and Zelda), that this video is accessible to a large variety of audiences.  I find the academic tone very refreshing, and look forward to that level of professionalism in the future.

I have just two qualms I hope to see addressed in Part 2.  One of them is that the video did not in fact return to Super Princess Peach like it promised; again, I expect this to recur in the next video in the series.  The other is more subtle, and has to do with the montage of classic video games that make use of the trope.  One of the games shown was a short clip of Final Fantasy I, showing Garland having kidnapped Princess Sara -- the screen in question shows the player party (led by a Fighter) in the Temple of Fiends just before engaging Garland in conversation (which results in combat with him).

This is indeed an example of the trope -- Sara is "damseled" (a great word choice, incidentally, effectively communicating the idea that this is something _done_ to women) and the players must indeed save the princess.  However, this is done as part of a much larger rhetorical argument.  Final Fantasy I has you saving Princess Sara within the first 15 minutes of the game.  After saving her, the opening credits play (as you cross North Bridge), and the main quest (to revive the Crystals) begins.  Final Fantasy I puts forth the argument that this franchise is about a lot more than merely saving a princess -- only simple games (read:  its main competition, Dragon Warrior) utilize a damsel in distress trope as their main plot device.

I find this usage of the damsel in distress trope to be a powerful acknowledgement of where the game industry was in 1987 when Final Fantasy was first released.  It's a shame that more games did not move on from the trope, following the example set forth by Square over 25 years ago.  For what it's worth, the Final Fantasy franchise pokes fun at this trope more times throughout the series -- most notably, the opening of Final Fantasy IX presents players with a princess that wants to be kidnapped, and has a very active role in the plot of the game -- though we see the world largely through Zidane's eyes, the events at hand usually have at least as much to do with Garnet as with him, until his plot arc picks up near the very end of the game.

Do these self-aware uses of the damsel trope as rhetorical argument that the Final Fantasy games have more to offer contain more meaning for having made use of the trope?  I argue that they do.  I'd love to hear Anita's thoughts on this more complicated use of the trope in a future video...

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

On the new game this week

I am currently playing an incredible game – one of the first real contenders for game of the year.  Bethany, the stellar lead character, is one of the best-developed characters in recent memory.  She successfully manages to bring a girl's perspective to an action role that we rarely see done well.  As my friend and colleague Ali Rapp blogs, we have in the past had female protagonists that act as either men or genderless archetypes – Samus (ignoring Other: M which has problems outside the scope here) and Mass Effect’s FemShep are two of the most popular. 

Bethany reminds us that girls behave in different ways than men.  She is an incredibly strong person, but she engages in heroic behavior on her own terms, not the terms put forward by the myriad of male heroes that have gone before her such as Ezio Auditore and Nathan Drake.  Through Bethany, players are invited to remember that great heroes are not merely merciless killing machines (though she possesses near super-human ability along these lines just like Ezio and Drake), but compassionate individuals thrust into situations beyond their control.  It is Bethany’s willingness to both admit and have emotional responses to the events at hand that help set her apart from a history of poorly written women in videogames.  I'll mention that the phenomenal voice actor behind her does a great job communicating this to players -- it's top notch work without a doubt.

And now, the point of this short rant:  Replace the (purposely) erroneous “Bethany” above with “Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft” and I still believe every word of what I’ve written.  If we think anything else about the character, then it is our previous baggage with the Tomb Raider franchise and the Lara Croft character being cast onto the new release.  Taken on its own terms, it is almost impossible to deny that Crystal Dynamics has knocked this one out of the park.  When you play, dismiss everything you think you know about Lara Croft, and you'll find not just a wonderful game, but a wonderful character that demands a place for women in gaming more strongly than any woman in recent memory.  That being said, I acknowledge the near-impossibility of seeing Tomb Raider with fresh eyes, which is why I employed the Bethany subterfuge above (which was inspired by an excellent critique along similar lines).  We are trapped by Lara's past, both in the sense of her previous titles, and in the bad PR that Tomb Raider received prior to its release.  Both are pitfalls all of us should strive to dodge in the future.

One last note:  the game is not by any means perfect, and that includes the writing.  But it is a giant leap forward by almost all counts regarding female characters and narrative -- one that we should all hope ripples out into the larger pond of game development everywhere.  


P.S.  I'm going to begin utilizing this blog much more regularly, so stay tuned for my thoughts and feelings on more upcoming titles.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Gaming blog #3!

3/20 -- 3/27

This week's game is a board game, not a video game!  It's David Sirlin's Puzzle Strike, playable online for free if you click this link:

Puzzle Strike is a board game designed as a representation of a puzzle-video game that was designed to represent a fighting game.  It's Street Fighter II meets Tetris meets board game.  It is crafted exceptionally well, and is a great deal of fun to play.

The best part (I'll skip an overview of the mechanics this time around) is the game's potential for last-second comebacks.  The closer a player is to losing, the more advantages they gain (why isn't teaching like this?  Often we fail our failing students by not providing additional support or guidance, especially at the college level).  I had an incredibly lucky draw where I needed to draw one specific chip out of a pile of 16, and did it!  Felt great.

There is a lot of strategy discussion available for those of us who like playing games at a high level -- it's really the community that makes this game.  Everyone is really helpful, and polite even when they lose!  Seriously, this is one of the models for behavior in a community.

The website also has one of the other two Fantasy Strike games, Yomi.  It's 1v1 only (Puzzle Strike is 4 player FFA or 1v1), but might be a little deeper for really serious players.  It's also a more direct fighting game allegory, so it's up my alley.

Sirlin also maintains a blog about game design (lately his own games, but often others as well) that is well worth reading at -- check it out!

3/28 -- 4/4

This week I got back into playing Audiosurf  This game is incredible and I should really write on it at some point.  It highlights how far mainstream games have to go in terms of engaging with audio.

The game invites you to upload any .mp3 (or .wav, .ogg, .m4a) file to it, and then an algorithim processes the audio and creates a race track / roller coaster out of it for you to ride through.  In addition, the game places blocks in the road that you collect and organize in colors.  It's an incredible experience that needs to be shown, not discussed in mere words.  Here's a couple videos to watch -- slower songs are mostly uphill (, fast songs are mostly downhill, and the best of the bunch are songs with large changes in tempo and orchestration (

If you have time for only one video, make it the last one, it's fantastic; in my opinion, Mitsuda's short piece is the best track in the game.  :p

The game provides a unique way to listen to a piece of music.  Listeners gain foresight into what's coming up by viewing the track ahead -- often multiple minutes ahead if you see around a bend in the track.  The colors involved give us this synethseic experience with the music that's just incredible -- I doubt I'll ever get tired of playing, since I'm always acquiring new content for it!  :p

4/5 -- 4/12

I have some awesome friends.  I was unable to attend PAX East this week, but I was fortunate to have my friends pick up a PAX exclusive skin for League of Legends -- it's a Sivir skin (costume) that resembles something out of TRON: Legacy.  It's ideal.

League of Legends is slowly patching the current metagame away, as 0 score supports (the support hero in the bottom lane of 3 lanes) are becoming less and less viable.  I am hoping that they eventually go away completely.  The new item in this patch is the Maw of Malmortius, an upgrade to the Hexdrinker.  I realize that the people reading this don't play LoL, but it is an item for physical attackers that increases both damage and magical resistance.

This is good, because 0 score support characters are typically spellcasters.  Giving items that increase magical resistance makes spellcasters weaker, which is what needs to happen to force 0 score support characters to have to buy items and have an income.

4/13 -- 4/20

I attempted to do a dungeon with a group of random folks after enjoying running one with the class.  Unfortunately, I got griefed out of the experience twice and decided to give up.  I disliked having to plan everything out in advance anyway, I must confess -- I much prefer a game where improvisation plays a useful role, which might be why I enjoyed my role as the Druid DPS / Healer hybrid.  Switching roles when Stephen needed some extra support healing brought some of that fast improvisation from League of Legends into the World of Warcraft play experience, which was really nice.

I played a game that blew my mind this week -- Fez, for Xbox Live Arcade.  It utilizes a unique mechanic that really takes a while to wrap your head around.  I'm not sure I can share it in words, but I'll try:  Fez is played from a 2d platforming perspective, but the world is a true three-dimensional environment.  Pressing any of the shoulder buttons shift the world 90 degrees, giving you another two-dimensional environment with which to interact.  Since the environment shifts and not the character, this creates puzzles of physics whereby a gap too large to jump across might appear to be crossable given a different shift of perspective -- and because of the game's 2d platforming rules of movement and space, the distance does not just appear to shift; it actually has.

Amazing, amazing stuff that demonstrates how our medium is still in its infancy.  I love having to really wrap my mind around games, and Fez forces that experience in a fantastic way.

4/21 -- 4/27

This week was the beginning of my large winding down of gaming for the remainder of the academic semester as projects become due.  However, I could not resist the opportunity to play Diablo III during the open beta weekend, from 4/20 to 4/22.

I played a _lot_ of both Diablo I and II -- an unbelievable amount.  As I have mentioned in writeups on the readings, when they talk about items in the Diablo games being sold in real life, I've had a copy of every single item mentioned and then some.

Diablo is a very simple game -- movement and combat are all performed with the left mouse button.  In Diablo I, left click is the melee attack function, and serves this general purpose in Diablo II also (though it can be remapped for casters, for instance).  Right clicking casts whatever spell you have active...and that's it.  Go kill things, have a good time...and most important, find stuff!

The loot drops in Diablo are absolutely incredible.  I will never forget the emotional high that you experience in Diablo I when you see a gold (unique) item drop.  It's this item loot system that Blizzard built on when they made World of Warcraft, but there's still nothing quite like the rush of having to compete for loot drops with other players like you do in Diablo I and II.

D3, as it turns out, has item drops on a per-character basis, not per-server.  As a result, you don't directly compete for drops anymore.  This is, of course, more equitable for everyone involved -- but since I was _really_ fast on the trigger and had a solid Internet connection, I didn't mind the old system.  The magic is definitely still there, and I can't wait for the 15th of May when the game releases.

Blizzard has done a lot to create a variety of builds for each character.  Each skill is balanced with regard to weapon damage, not a flat value.  This prevents certain skills (like Diablo II's Frozen Orb) from being outright superior in every case to others (Diablo II's Frost Nova is worse than Orb in every possible circumstance).  Also, in a nod to World of Warcraft (and maybe League of Legends, who also ran with this concept) each character uses a different resource to power skills.  My Monk builds up Spirit as he attacks, which does not diminish over time, allowing me to release incredibly long combos on difficult foes.

The game was incredible to play, and it will make for an excellent reward for finishing all of my projects.

No gaming from 4/28 -- 4/30 :(  That will be fixed tonight with Puzzle Strike and League of Legends for sure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gaming log submission #2!

Sorry for not updating this blog on a weekly basis -- I've been keeping notes on my netbook in Google Docs and not uploading them anywhere else.  :(  In any case, away we go!

(Gaming from 3/12 -- 3/19)

I have spent Spring Break doing relatively little gaming, though I completed an entire research playthrough of Final Fantasy VI.  It is one of my favorite games of all time, and was a pleasure to play through again.  I am doing an interpretation of it as a Wagnerian opera for Karen Painter’s seminar.  

The soundtrack is among my favorite albums ever created -- one of the high moments in “Golden Age” jRPG writing.  There’s a lot to digest there; relationships between musical pieces that mirror the relationships between the characters they represent, neat key relations between different occurrences of melodies in different contexts, etc.  There is even an opera within the game put on by the main characters after they visit an opera house!  It’s going to be a good paper; I just hope that it fits with what Karen wants us to write (she seems fine with the idea, but knows _nothing_ about games, so we’ll wait and see...)

FFVI gets a number of things right.  First, the jRPG genre at large emphasizes storytelling over gameplay experience, and FFVI is very aware of this.  It is a simple task to have characters that are unkillable by the end of the game -- there’s even a spell that will automatically resurrect you when you die!  As a result of this, players are invited to focus in on what the game does very well -- tell a story.  (The gameplay is excellent also, but it’s really the story that carves the game’s place in the history books).  Second, the game has a very musically complex score, with different character themes being related to one another in intelligent ways that underscores the relationships different characters have with each other.  Like Journey last week, FFVI is one of the games that really demonstrates the potential of games as a medium for creative story-telling.   

I believe I have mentioned League of Legends before, but as I continue to play with my regular group, something has occurred to me.  League games unfold over approximately 45 minutes -- very close to the amount of time a single college lecture takes up.  There is a dramatic rise of tension and a feeling of accomplishment almost every time I play a complete game, win or lose.  I’d love for my rock class at 8:00 AM to leave feeling like they conquered something -- I’d even settle for them leaving feeling like they _did_ something besides get through another hour of lecture / review.  Note:  I don’t just lecture; we do a lot of group work and discussion....but at the same time, the average energy level of my 8 AM students suggests that they do not leave class feeling particularly invigorated.  It’d be nice to fix this somehow.  I have not had these types of problems with 9:00 or 11:00 classes -- maybe it’s just the earliest time period that causes the lower energy in the room?

(Gaming from 3/5 -- 3/12)

This week in gaming was dedicated almost exclusively to the new release of the week:  Street Fighter X Tekken.  The game really gets a lot of things right, and I think that it will be around for a while.  In many ways, it is also the first fighter of the generation to truly be welcoming to new players, something I’ll get to in a second.  When Street Fighter IV began the fighting game renaissance, it was released as a game for those of us who had played Street Fighter II in the 1990s; there was an extremely high execution barrier, and we were all encouraged to get arcade joysticks in the Japanese style that cost hundreds of dollars.  Marvel vs Capcom 3 was in many ways even more complex -- in SFIV you can at least tell what’s going on as a casual player.  

SFxTekken adds a number of new devices designed to help players adjust to a “new” 2D fighting game genre -- the biggest one is almost certainly the Gem System.  Each character on your tag-team of two (I use Jin and Xiaoyu from Tekken, but you could just as easily pick Ryu and Guile from Street Fighter if you were unfamiliar with the series) has a loadout of three gems that activate under various conditions.  These gems provide small benefits -- 10% damage boost, 15% damage reduction, 10% increased walking speed, etc.  For new players there are also gems that assist player inputs directly.  Players can choose gems that make special move inputs easier (instead of a fireball being ‘quarter-circle forward+punch’, it becomes just ‘forward+punch’), which is a great boon for new players in that it allows them to have access to all of the tools professional players do.  Similarly, at costs to your super meter (which is what powers high-damaging moves), there are assist gems that will automatically block attacks that you don’t, and gems that will automatically escape throws!  At high level play, this changes the game from rock-paper-scissors (attack-block-throw) to just rock-paper for one of those gems, or just rock for both of them (though if you use both, you will run out of meter very quickly and the gems will then cease to function).  This flexibility is incredible in allowing new players to feel like they can compete, even if they are miles below their opponents in terms of skill.  It’d be nice to be able to provide my poor students some sort of system that gets them halfway there, enabling the sort of practice that creates good students.

Lastly, I really need to borrow a PS3 soon to play through Journey.  It looks and sounds amazing.  I don’t have much to say about it in terms of education, but Journey is going to be one of those games that moves the entire medium forward, much like “Dear Esther” from February (which I will be buying myself soon to support).  I love the idea of exploring different, boldly new types of multiplayer, another thing that Journey does astoundingly well (as did Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, two other PS3 exclusives...though they are outrageously difficult).

Gaming 2/27 - 3/5

I have heard about Peggle for a long time now -- it was seeing it in the McGonigal that finally motivated me to buy it.  It has been the gaming success of the year in my house.  Addie is asking to play without any motivation from me, which is a thing that essentially doesn’t happen...and it’s awesome.

The game is essentially some combination of Pachinko and “Plinko” from The Price is Right.  It is incredibly simple...and as a result, you always have this strong belief that you could do just a little bit better if you tried it again.  They mix things up by allowing you to choose one of ten (eleven in the sequel, which I am beginning to make my way through on my netbook) helpers that provide specific gameplay advantages.  For instance, you can have the computer tell you the first two bounce angles that your ball will make (normally hidden information), or you can have the computer determine how to tweak your shot to make it better.

Lastly, the musical presentation is extremely comical.  When you succeed at knocking out all of the orange bricks in the allotted number of shots (which is the central goal of the game), then immediately, the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony kicks in, and the whole screen is covered in a gigantic rainbow.  It is so positive-energy as to be comical, but I am yet to be displeased when it happens.  The camera also slows down before the last brick is hit, really helping to create that moment of fiero when you emerge victorious.  

Relating all of this to our readings, I find that Peggle is extremely rewarding for an extremely simple amount of effort -- easier to get into than real life, as it were.  It should say something that it is the only game I regularly play on my school netbook.

Gaming 2/20 - 2/27

World of Warcraft is becoming much more fun now that I can speed around faster than most players in my druid’s cat form.  I find myself _really_ missing fast travel from the Elder Scrolls games.  There is no good reason why I shouldn’t be able to teleport around the world map to major locations whenever I want.  It is a waste of time to have to walk everywhere; being able to run 30% faster than everyone else at least places a greater value on my time.  I am really looking forward to Guild Wars 2 which will include fast travel and other various ways to respect my time.  Compared to reality, I currently find myself wasting a lot of time getting from place to place in WoW, which is not what McGonigal or Gee would have me get out of it.

In other gaming:  the latest Kirby game is incredible.  Kirby is a platformer with the option for a second player to join in, much like Donkey Kong Country Returns, Rayman: Origins, and New Super Mario Bros. Wii.  What makes Kirby shine above the others thus far is that the second player (or third and fourth) is provided with a real sense of agency.  Having a second player around is incredibly useful, since the main player never has to have the Sword, Spear, or Hammer powers in order to accomplish things (those powers are always selectable by the 2nd player).  It has made the co-op experience of the game much, much better than it would have been otherwise, if Addie had to play as Kirby instead of one of the cast that comes built in with weapons.  The fact that she can rotate weapons on command, or even switch to a second Kirby, allows her to have whatever playstyle she wants at any given moment.  It is very nice to have real cooperative play, something that even WoW doesn’t have at the level we are playing; even if we could form groups, I would likely form groups with friends who know what they are doing and therefore are more useful than me, even if my stats would say otherwise.  How can we invite students who perform at lesser skill levels to feel like they can engage with our “smart” kids like Kirby does?  An interesting take away this week.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Video game log, week three!

Edit:  I finished Zelda:  Skyward Sword last night!

Overall I cannot believe that reviewers did not _rail_ this game for failing to establish Fi as a compelling character.  She is annoying, does not fit the aesthetic of the rest of the world in the slightest, and I did not have the emotional connection to her the ending made it clear I was supposed to have.  Maybe it would have spoiled the ending to harp on this?  She's annoying throughout though.

I don't feel that the world was as big as in previous games either, though flying around it was certainly more fun that in Twilight Princess or Wind Waker (though I'm the only person who enjoyed sailing around WW, apparently).

How this relates to education:  Annoying characters, whether in video games or in the classroom, have a difficult time establishing themselves as authority figures.  Treat your students with some respect, and don't be afraid to assume they know just a little bit about certain topics.  :p
This week's reflection is based around my experiences with the platforming revival of the past few years, beginning with New Super Mario Bros. and ending with Rayman Origins (DKC Returns, both next-gen Kirby games inbetween).

One thing that many of these games do well is to allow for a large disparity of skills between the first and second players.  Rayman and NSMB are especially good at this, as players intimidated by certain sections can opt out of playing them instantly, and even if they die, they immediately float back in a bubble to be respawned almost immediately.  Rayman is the best of these, as they don't have a traditional, outdated "number of lives remaining" -- either you succeed or you retry the level, which is much more inviting to experimental, risky play (the kind of crazy play that I like).

More games need to find ways to encourage not just participation amongst groups of disparate gaming talents, but ways to safely invite ridiculously risky, fun play.
League of Legends is _not_ inviting to new players at all.  It's the only game where I have been called a "cuntsack" and other even less appropriate language by members of my own team who had an active interest in helping me to succeed.

I can't think of anything outside of the MOBA game genre that has this poor of a community.  No other game or activity is so uninviting to players.  The catch is that very few other activities place your success (and rewards given out, and in many ways, the "fun") in the hands of others though.  The game is played on 5v5 teams, and if one person royally screws up, your chances of winning approach zero very quickly -- success early begets success late, creating a sort of "snowball" effect.

What lessons does this sort of thing teach players?  We don't want to encourage tentativeness and safe play, because the most successful players in the game are the ones willing to attempt the risky plays -- the more often you attempt them, the better you get at completing them.  The social dynamic does not reinforce this in the slightest though -- by yelling at people who mess up, they become more nervous and more tentative, causing lackluster play at best.


Single player World of Warcraft is boring.  I would much rather play a more involved, better looking game like Skyrim et al.  I am looking forward to the class getting together to play later in the semester.  This is a good lesson for me in that gaming is not always fun (though of course I am familiar with this idea from L4D research, and my upcoming FFVI / Bastion projects which will be more work than play).

As far as learning goes, I am not learning much, I must confess.  Partly because I already have sufficient gaming experience in the genre, I suppose?  I wish I had more time to play, but alas, my comprehensive exams approach quickly.  After them I'll have to have a major WoW session.

My biggest challenge thus far has been navigation, especially in major cities.  It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out Origrimmar's elevator system, haha.  Combat is ridiculously simple thus far, though I hope that it begins to get more complex as I unlock more than 4-5 abilities.


Soul Calibur V progress continues -- I am now learning a new character (Viola) because I am enjoying making new models of characters with Addie so much.  I understand the high barrier of entry to the series, but this character creation is so good that it warrants a second, very brief mention at the beginning of this week's log.

P.S.  My new Morrigan model is _extremely_ good.  Super proud of her, might get a picture up sometime soon if I have the time.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Video game log, week two!

Alright, let's chat about Soul Calibur V's character creation mode.

I have spent almost as much time creating characters and unlocking outfits as I have spent practicing the game.  It is a whole bunch of fun, and is a great way to involve people who are not interested in learning how deep the fighting mechanics of the game go.  The character creation is so robust that it is a game in its own right.

Thus far, I have created a version of Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, a Zero Suit Samus wielding Ivy's whipsword (why isn't there a lightsaber version?  sigh), and to enable usage of the "unique" moveset to Create a Soul heroes, I have made Motoko Kusanagi to use Devil Jin's moveset.

Additionally, my sister in-law and wife have created a living pirate version of Cervantes, jokingly called Capt. Blood.  Note:  Amanda (sister in-law) does not play any games of any kind, and she was able to make this work with almost no prompting from me.  Hooray!  Proof of this working.

Great stuff that I would love to show off to people at some point as a way to invite a wide variety of people to feel included in a genre that is typically extremely exclusive.