Insights From A Gamer

faisdm:

colabhq:

adoxographist:

Hey guys! My friend faisdm and bishopmyers recently released a game for the 2014 Indie Game Maker Contest.

It’s a fairly short visual novel with point and click investigative mechanics. Still, although it’s pretty bite sized, I feel like Project BC has always done a really good job writing interesting and diverse characters. In the short amount of time it takes to play the game, you get a pretty good portrait of the primary characters, as well as the world the game takes place in. I personally really enjoyed it, and hopefully you all will too!

I would really appreciate it if you could help spread the word through tumblr, twitter or facebook, and, of course, check it out for yourselves!

This is Kate speaking! I’ve been working really hard on this game for the past month. This early release doesn’t have the fancy 3D combat in it yet, or all the quests, but you guys can play this version for free! 

Why am I posting this on CoLab? Well! Not only did it have a CoLab admin doing just about all the art, It also has an ALL-COLAB CAST for the voice acted sections!

The cast is Adoxographist (voice of Jade), thepandabetweenus (voice of Feferi), Me (voice of Kanaya) , Ryan (Voice of Doc Scratch), RJ (voice of Dirk)  and Alex (voice of Dave).

We’ll be launching a Greenlight campaign this weekend, when we can hopefully show off some 3D footage, and we’ll need votes! For now, if you could give us some likes, retweets etc. That would be awesome!

I’ll probably be writing things about how the game was made on My Games Dev Tumblr, katemakesgames.

Thanks, everybody!

I made a thing with Bishop, Julia and some CoLabers! Play it, rate it and give it some tweets and likes, please! It’d be a big help!

faisdm:

urbex-exploration:

monster at an abandoned amusement park

It looks like a boss battle in progress.
"Great, we’ve destroyed the head, now it can’t use fire breath on us, Now to destroy the body!"

Head suddenly regenerates because apparently the left hand is capable of revive."DAMMIT!"

faisdm:

urbex-exploration:

monster at an abandoned amusement park

It looks like a boss battle in progress.

"Great, we’ve destroyed the head, now it can’t use fire breath on us, Now to destroy the body!"

Head suddenly regenerates because apparently the left hand is capable of revive.

"DAMMIT!"

What I wrote in response to Nintendo’s refusal to change Tomodachi Life over at Kotaku

So over at Kotaku, a news article ran describing Nintendo’s decision to actively not try and change Tomodachi Life to allow homosexual relationships in the game.  It would require tweaking the code to make it possible, but Nintendo made the decision not to that in response to the #Miiquality campaign.

The following is the write up I made to share my thoughts and feelings on this:

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I’m not gonna lie and try to defend Nintendo on this. This is a bad response to the call for LGBTQA representation in a major Nintendo title about playing as a character that represents you. Part of this is likely because of the cultural differences between Japan and everywhere else in the world. It has echoes of feudal Japan when they shut themselves off from the rest of the world.

Japan’s view on LGBTQA is likely very different from the rest of the world because of many reasons. Japan even has their own words for things that may seem similar to some things we are familiar with, but probably aren’t. Such as Okama:


I’m not going to pretend I have even the slightest clue as to properly understanding Okama as my exposure to the entire concept of Okama is limited and my first introduction to that word was through One Piece. For Westerners, One Piece might be their first exposure to Okama, which is why I used a One Piece picture for this.

Homosexuality has also been used to play for laughs as well. Otherwise, Razor Ramon wouldn’t be as popular as he has been with this character:


And Hard Gay in and of itself may be entirely for the laughs, but if you think about examples in Western culture; we’ve seen it done before in our own media.

South Park, for example, has Mr. Slave and Big Gay Al, and while I can’t say if Japan has made any head way with taking these kinds of characters and doing more with them other than playing for laughs (like making social commentary a la South Park), there have been examples of LGBTQA characters being given fair treatment in other media. Such as Tokyo Godfathers.


(Man I miss Satoshi Kon)

Tokyo Godfathers really hit home as a powerful film because it had a Transgender person as one of the three main characters, gave a serious insight into their life within Japanese culture, and while there was a lot of comedy of errors going on in this film, this character was treated seriously and real which really stood out and reminds me why this movie really stands out (Satoshi Kon’s movies all stand out, but like I said, I miss that guy.)

But here’s the thing about everything I just listed here. The examples I have shown so far have all been fictional characters. I don’t have any real insight into the mindset and thinking of Japanese people in real life when it comes to LGBTQA issues. All I have seen, and have been able to see, are examples in their media. How this affects the Japanese mindset towards LGBTQA is unknown to me, and I’d need to spend more time as a cultural scholar in order to be able to learn more. (Go to Japan, read up on articles and books on the subject, etc.)

But above all, there is one thing that I think has not been discussed which is the ultimate goal of LGBTQA people in general:

to be considered normal.

For their lifestyles, gender, sexuality, and everything else to basically not matter at all. So that instead of people seeing them as “that gay couple” or solely identifying them by their sexual orientation and gender, they see them like this:


I did a google search for “Gay Family in Public” and this was the first photo that popped up. It looks like your typical, average family photo. The dads are dressed in regular clothes, the kids are dressed up for the picture, and it looks normal.

If I didn’t say anything about the two men in the picture being gay, you’d never know. You might even think it’s a photo of two brothers and their respective kids; or even if you did think they were gay, you’d go “oh that’s a cute family picture there. Your kids are adorable!” Above all, who they identify as doesn’t matter since they still have the same issues normal people have. Like getting kids to school, working a full time job to make a living, paying bills, fixing up their car, managing a house, etc.

Getting back to the original response here, the decision to not even make an attempt to include LGBTQA representation in their game comes off as Nintendo saying that LGBTQA people are NOT normal. It implies that they are “deviants” or who aren’t “family friendly”; as though the only time anyone should think about someone’s sexual orientation is when it comes to sex.


A good example of being Gay as “normal” comes in the form of “Welcome To Night Vale”. Radio Correspondent Cecil’s homosexual relationship with Carlos the Scientist is actually easily the most normal thing in the entire podcast show. In a city with a massive sentient glow cloud as President of the PTA, a dog park where dogs are not allowed (nor anyone else), where wheat and wheat byproducts are banned after that one incident where all turned into deadly snakes…

…a homosexual relationship is something that no one blinks an eye at. They’re more interested in the Faceless Woman that Hides in Your House but never see and Hiram McDaniels, the (literally) five-headed dragon, running for mayor.

In order for Nintendo to really fix some of the problems it’s having; it needs to allow Nintendo of America to be more autonomous and operate on its own. Sony did that and it resulted in the massive surge in indie games for Sony’s PS4 which they showcased in a big way at last year’s E3. While Nintendo of Japan may know what works for Japan, it doesn’t necessarily translate to what works best in Western countries, and they need to be able to address that properly if they are ever going to come out of their slump.

It’s not the biggest collection in the world, and the rarest game he has tops out at around $600, a far cry from the thousands of dollars some rare games are reported to be worth.

So what makes his collection so special? It’s all about the aesthetics, dude. Norton’s 5,200-game collection is meticulously alphabetized and displayed so everyone can enjoy it in all its spectacular glory. “I suppose I’d have to consider myself a Nintendo fanboy. I grew up in the 1980s. Nintendo and Mario was everywhere, there was no escaping it,” Norton recalled. “From Sunday morning cartoons, cereal, underwear, bed sheets and lunch boxes.

Nintendo makes fantastic games and has enduring franchises. It is without a doubt my favorite company.” “I’ve acquired a ton of games, but I don’t feel like I’ve spent a ton. Most people don’t realize that many of these classic games can be found for $1 - $4 each,” he dished. “It’s all about finding the right deal at the right time. Hunting out your local area. Finding extras games for cheap and trading online.

To me collecting has become a fun game in and of itself.” “I’d say I have most of the rare games for most systems,” he went on to say. “To be honest it may be easier to mention the hard-to-find games I don’t have.

For the NES I own a complete licensed set, except for the very hard-to-find Stadium Events. My Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and Gamecube sets are complete as well, except for the two mail-order Super Nintendo competition carts. I also own a complete set for Virtual Boy, Sega Game Gear and Sega 32x. I’m working on finishing up my Sega Master System, Game Boy and Game Boy Color sets.” X

This is the kind of game room I want to have. It’s like a library.

serenityforge:

image

TwitchPlaysPokemon is the birth of a new genre. Never before has there been a game where thousands of users are all commanding the same avatar. And though it’s frustrating to watch simple tasks made near impossible…it’s exhilarating when against all odds, things come…

miketooch:

Just found out one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting earlier this month is gone.
I bought a JewWario pin from him for a buck, ha ha. I’m never not wearing that now.
I can’t imagine anyone who has even heard of Justin Carmical who won’t be upset by the loss. OUR loss. We lost a good one. A damn good human being.

miketooch:

Just found out one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting earlier this month is gone.

I bought a JewWario pin from him for a buck, ha ha. I’m never not wearing that now.

I can’t imagine anyone who has even heard of Justin Carmical who won’t be upset by the loss. OUR loss. We lost a good one. A damn good human being.

Thoughts on the “Ms. Male Character” video

So in case you haven’t seen it, Anita Sarkeesian released her 4th video in her “Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games” series.  Her topic of discussion this time was the “Ms. Male Character” and going into its origins and effects of its constant use in video games as well as other media.

I wrote this response to a Kotaku article on the video, but thought it was worth sharing here too.  Give it a read and let me know what you think!

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I’ve been watching these videos every time they come out, and feel like I learn something “new” each time I watch them. I say “new” in quotes because the fact of the matter is that somehow, in the back of my head, I always knew the things that Anita was saying. However, watching these videos made me aware which is important if I hope to properly think about them. It’s far more dangerous to not think about these sorts of topics, because otherwise it perpetuates a habit of not questioning the world around us which is necessary to learn and grow (even when we reach adulthood; we don’t just stop growing).

In this episode, I really agree with Anita that the “Ms. Male Character” needs to shrink down in terms of presence in video games. Many other mediums out there are capable of showing varied female casts, and what’s more, not require on “stereotypically” female traits to identify them as characters.

For example:

Ed

By now, we know that Ed is a girl. But up until the end of the first episode that Ed appeared in, nobody (not even the characters in Cowboy Bebop) knew that Ed was actually a girl. And what’s even MORE important is the fact that Ed being a girl DOESN’T MATTER!

Ed is Ed

Ed is kooky, energetic, childish, a brilliant computer wiz, a pain in Spike’s ass, best friend to galaxy’s greatest Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Ein, and whose past remains a mystery for most of the series. Anyone who knows Ed typically thinks of Ed like this.

BUT… I bet most people DON’T think of Ed’s sex or gender AT ALL when it comes to thinking about Ed as a character.

With the Ms. Male Character, being a girl is pretty much the ONLY defining characteristic that makes them unique. Take away their “Girl-ness” and you have the original male character that they are meant to be a distaff counterpart too. Worse, when surrounded by other characters who are all male, invoking “The Smurfette Principle”, it reinforces that being a girl is adefining character trait.

But females, girls, ladies, women, all of them are NOT defined by their genetics or stereotypical female appearance. Or more accurately, they SHOULDN’T be defined like that.

Take Noa Izumi:

Now if you’re familiar with Patlabor, then you already know which one of the two people in this picture is Noa Izumi; a female. If you aren’t familiar with who’s who, here’s a challenge:

One of the characters in the above picture is female. The other is male. Which one is Noa Izumi?

If you guessed the dark-skinned, long black-haired person on the right…

…you were wrong!

That is Badrinath Harchand, a 15-year old BOY from India who is used by Schaft Enterprises to illegally test out their newest labor. Noa Izumi is the short, red-head on the left who pilots her Shinohara Ingram-98, nicknamed “Alphonse”, for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police to stop and prevent crimes involving labors.

You know the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”?

Just because someone doesn’t look like they’re female doesn’t mean that they aren’t. They still have female body parts like breasts and vaginas, but them being female has very little to do with their characters, situations, or narrative in their respective stories. Noa Izumi is defined by her positive attitude, fangirl obsession of giant robots, masterful piloting skills of Alphonse that let her be one of the best pilots on the force, ability to tolerate the wacky antics of her fellow officers and superiors, and the bizarre situations she and Special Vehicles Division 2 find themselves in. Rarely does her being a woman come into play

In contrast, there’s Kanuka Clancy; also from Patlabor:

Kanuka Clancy has a far more feminine appearance than Noa Izumi. She’s older, more “developed” and her feminine features stand out more. Due to her good looks and appearance, many of the male officers in Special Vehicle Divisions 1 & 2 are very attracted to her. However, Kanuka is also a VERY skilled police officer. As tactical backup for Division 2, she is extremely skilled in the use of numerous firearms, bomb disarmament, fluent in both English and Japanese, and actually is a temporary transfer from the NYPD to assist the Tokyo Metropolitan Police for a short term assignment. She’s a no-nonsense police officer, a capable fighter with firearms or hand-to-hand combat, and can even crack a joke every now and then.

But when she first appears, the first thing that the other male officers in the unit seemed to think of her was “WOW! SHE IS HOT!”

This is why, for some women, they feel that in order for them to be taken seriously as the people they are, they have to “shed” their femininity in order for others to see it. Like Naoto Shirogane of Persona 4:

For anyone that’s played Persona 4, you know exactly where I’m going with this. If you haven’t, WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

When Naoto Shirogane first appears, Naoto presents themself as a teenage boy aspiring to be a detective. As the story progresses, it’s revealed that Naoto is actually a girl. The reason Naoto pretends to be a boy is that, while growing up, she became convinced that the only way she would ever be able to be taken seriously as a detective and prove her worth was if she was a man. This damages her psyche so much, that it’s when confronting the horrific imagery of Naoto’s temptation to surgically alter their body to try and “become” a man that leads to revealing Naoto’s Persona and the boss fight required to help Naoto accept who they are.

In Naoto’s case, Naoto didn’t WANT to be a man, which would, in essence, make her what’s known as “Cis-Gendered” (Someone who identifies their gender with the sex they were born with) as opposed to “Trans-Gendered” which is identifying with a gender that doesn’t match with sex they were born with.

In other words, the notion of being a “man trapped in a female’s body” or “woman trapped in a man’s body” is actually a real thing and not just some phrase or saying.

Science has actually shown that someone born with a male body can have neural patterns and behavioral responses that match more with those typically found in female bodies. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V for short) is the current “bible” when it comes to diagnosing mental disorders and is critical not just for health reasons, but for legal reasons as well. There are Laws that exist which are based around the contents of this manual.

In previous versions, it was considered that the belief that someone was a man in a woman’s body or vice-versa was in and of itself a mental disorder. This is no longer true. It’s actually now considered a normal enough occurrence for it to be natural.

What IS a mental disorder is the feeling of stress, anxiety, and mental trauma brought on by this feeling which isn’t caused by something within the person’s body, but from social factors of the outside world. It’s why psychologists and psychiatrists work with people not to try and change who they feel that they are, but be able to cope with the social pressures and difficulties brought on because they feel that way.

In Naoto’s case, she DID identify as a female born with a female body, but felt that she HAD to identify as male if she ever wanted to be taken seriously as a detective. It’s that stress, anxiety, and psychological trauma that lead up to the big battle inside the Midnight Channel to unlock her Persona.

So… what’s the point of all this writing and lecturing here?

To state that we as writers, artists, musicians, TV Show runners, directors, game developers, producers, etc. should STOP constantly thinking that a female character can ONLY be defined by the fact that they are female. It’s much better to be think of characters as “The biker-gang badass”, or “The bookworm”, or “The computer wiz”, etc. instead of all that plus “The girl”. Or flipping it to “The girl biker-gang badass” or “The girl bookworm” and so on and so on.

It may seem silly that the best way to think about sex and gender roles in video games is to not think about them, but consider this. Did it ever matter if Samus Aran was a girl in Metroid?

Nope!

All that mattered was that Samus Aran was a bounty hunter with an awesome arsenal sent on a mission to the planet Zebes in order to stop an evil band of space pirates from cultivating a parasitic alien species called “Metroid” for their malicious purposes.

It didn’t matter if Samus was a boy or a girl. All that mattered was that they were Samus… and the galaxy needed saving.

That’s how we need to try and start thinking on a more regular basis.

blusterbarrelworks:

uglydbzmerch:

My favorite parts of this include: The eyebrows, the bad paint, and the smashed up looking face. All around, UGLY!
Submitted by goku-son, who was awesome and submitted a bunch of stuff! I wish you had a blog so I could link to it!



Ha Ha…
Say what you will about Plok’s character design, his game on the SNES is still one of my favorites to this day, and actually, his creators, The Pickford Brothers (UK born and raised and still kicking it in the video game industry) recently started a webcomic to explain what this guy’s been up to for the past 20-or-so years.
http://www.zee-3.com/plok/
I myself would love to see a new Plok game.  The original game had a KILLER soundtrack by video game composer legend, Tim Follin, and could arguably be the greatest work ever produced by the Pickford Brothers.  In fact, the ONLY gripe I ever have about Plok is that it doesn’t have a SAVE feature.  If I was able to save my progress in that game a la “Super Mario World”, I probably would have played it a heck of a lot more growing up.  (I must confess that I could never beat the game without cheating since the difficulty can REALLY ramp up towards the end).
Even so, it was chock full of secrets, a neat premise, and was a FUN game.  Here’s to Ste and John Pickford for one of my favorite childhood video games!

blusterbarrelworks:

uglydbzmerch:

My favorite parts of this include: The eyebrows, the bad paint, and the smashed up looking face. All around, UGLY!

Submitted by goku-son, who was awesome and submitted a bunch of stuff! I wish you had a blog so I could link to it!

Ha Ha…

Say what you will about Plok’s character design, his game on the SNES is still one of my favorites to this day, and actually, his creators, The Pickford Brothers (UK born and raised and still kicking it in the video game industry) recently started a webcomic to explain what this guy’s been up to for the past 20-or-so years.

http://www.zee-3.com/plok/

I myself would love to see a new Plok game.  The original game had a KILLER soundtrack by video game composer legend, Tim Follin, and could arguably be the greatest work ever produced by the Pickford Brothers.  In fact, the ONLY gripe I ever have about Plok is that it doesn’t have a SAVE feature.  If I was able to save my progress in that game a la “Super Mario World”, I probably would have played it a heck of a lot more growing up.  (I must confess that I could never beat the game without cheating since the difficulty can REALLY ramp up towards the end).

Even so, it was chock full of secrets, a neat premise, and was a FUN game.  Here’s to Ste and John Pickford for one of my favorite childhood video games!

colabhq:

Skittles, Badger and Paul are now live!

www.twitch.tv/superbluebadger
www.twitch.tv/bonzi77

The Good Old Days Of Video Games

The following comment is a response I left on Kotaku to This Article - the original comment can be found here.

This actually not only explains a lot, but also reaffirms what I’ve always believed to be true about Nintendo.

Anyone who watches Game Center CX knows that in Japan, even today, a popular past time among kids, adults, senior citizens, men, women, etc. is to play video games in the same space. In Japan, Game Centers (arcades) are still rather common place and can found in pretty much any major city and at various locations across Japan (No matter how far North or how South you go, as Arino-Kachou showed). So this feeling of “playing together” is something that’s rooted in the culture of modern-day Japan.

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When I was a pre-teen, the NES was still in its hey day, and the Genesis and SNES were still just over the horizon, back before there was even an internet, this culture of “playing together” was something existed in the USA (I know Europe saw more success from the Commodore 64 at the time, but that’s another story for another day). With no online-multiplayer, kids gathered around at their friends’, played video games, hung out, drank soda and whatever other food stuffs their parents had stocked the fridge with, and many times kids would just play games, both single player and multi-player, together. Often times one or two people would play and the others would watch, waiting for their turn. Or if the kid was good enough to actually BEAT a game, then the spectating kids would witness something they’d never be able to see otherwise (the incredibly hard game’s ending).

I’m 31 now, and one of my fondest memories from my childhood was spending one summer’s day hanging out at a friend’s house with some of their other friends, playing NES games, ordering pizza and pop, and just having a good time. Online multi-player wasn’t even a thing back then, but we still enjoyed playing games together.

These days, with online-multiplayer, it seems like people in the USA have somehow “forgotten” that feeling of playing video games with people in the same room. That’s not to say everyone has: there’s still LAN Parties, Fighting Game Tournaments, and kids still go to friends’ houses to play games too. But it seems like this next generation of game PLAYERS (not consoles, but players), don’t seem to be able to appreciate the idea of playing games in the same place at the same time with other people.

But Nintendo hasn’t forgotten.

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For Microsoft and Sony, both are international, global enterprises. Sony owns movie studios, television studios (they make Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! now!), manufacture TVs, speakers, stereos, and owns the patent for Blu-Ray technology. Microsoft began making operating systems and office software and has expanded since its inception to cover things beyond PC, and its focus has never been on JUST games. They want to embrace online gaming as a means to THEIR ends.

For Microsoft, more people online means they can make their Xbox into a streaming entertainment hub. We saw the effects of exactly what that meant during E3 and the Press Conferences leading up to it. For Sony, more people online means more loyalty to the Sony brand. Sony can deliver electronic accessories, content (Breaking Bad was produced by Sony Pictures Television after all), and devices like Sony phones, TVs, headsets, etc.

Nintendo, however, despite being the oldest company between the Big 3 (It is over 120 years old now), has been very narrowly focused on what they did in the past and what they focus on now:

Toys.

Nintendo did start off as a playing card company before expanding into toys (and a few other experimental markets) before hitting pay dirt with video games back in the early 80’s. Nintendo doesn’t have other software or devices or TV shows or movies to try and “sell” to their players. All they have, and all they WANT, are video games.

So hearing this from Miyamoto is no surprise. He’s a game design legend who has been making games for decades, and the current Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, was the man that created Balloon Fight. He made that game pretty much all by himself (not sure if he had any extra help, but as far as programming, design, and development, I’m pretty sure that was all him), so he knows full well what it means, and what it takes, to make (good) video games. They look at Microsoft and Sony and see what they’re doing, and they realize that they are NOT them. They are not trying to get their hands sticky in other markets like TV, movies, etc.

This is Nintendo saying “We don’t care what you other guys are doing. We’re just going to do our own thing. It’s what we’ve always done in the past and what we will always continue to do. We will not change our existing franchises in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. (We also won’t lend our franchises to other developers or movie making people either. We tried that and it didn’t work.) If we want to appeal to a new market, we will make a new franchise just for them. For now, we are just going to continue doing what we’ve always done because we’re Nintendo. It’s who we are and who we always have been.”

Finally, for anyone saying that Nintendo is losing money on the Wii U, don’t forget about the 3DS. Nintendo launched it slow, and now sales of the 3DS have skyrocketed to a point where people are JEALOUS that they don’t have one, and the profits from game and hardware sales of the 3DS alone have covered any losses from the Wii U and THEN SOME!

So Nintendo is fiscally sound. It may seem like they’re out of the loop and separated from reality… but I don’t think they are. Maybe the problem isn’t with Nintendo…

…maybe its with the players?