Of Game Piracy

[Penny Arcade]

I buy a lot of games and I think it’s no secret that I don’t have the time to play all of them. It’s like how some girls buy lots of shoes and bags, I buy games (and books). Well, I bought a bunch of new games lately so I thought I’d write a little about game piracy.

I had a discussion with Jo some time back about the difference between branded goods and video games. When someone carries an imitation of say a LV or Gucci bag, said person will be scoffed in public. However, when someone gets a bootleg copy of the latest game, he becomes everyone’s best friend, at least till they all got a copy from him.

Of course, she replied that there isn’t “branded” video games, to which, I tried to explain that there are triple A titles where publishers pump millions of dollars and developers can spent up to 5 years working on. On the other hand, you have hobbyist or casual games developed by a couple of friends and published online as a free Flash game or selling for a couple of bucks. More often than not, it’s those triple A titles that get pirated.

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Strange Journey

I only got 2 hours into Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey and I’m loving it so far.

I can see how people call it SMT: Etrian Odyssey as it uses the same engine and goes back to SMT’s dungeon crawling roots. Crawling dungeons + fusing demons: that’s my kind of game.

I guess between playing while commuting on public transport and before sleep, SMT: SJ might last me quite a while.

Will (attempt to) write more about it when I’ve played more.

Oh yes, just realised I bought all the SMT released on DS, the previous being Devil Survivor.

Science & Science Fiction of Games

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I recommend getting good and high for the discussion of dark matter, although he does point out that “when you put negative matter into Einstein’s equations,” – i.e. divide by zero!! (!!!) – they “curl up into knots.” And hedging that the big unknown it creates will be more good than bad we can get stuff like faster-than-light travel and real-time pan-galaxy communications.

via Real Scientist Examines the Science Fiction of Mass Effect – mass effect 2 – Kotaku.

As much as I like games, I’m fairly grounded in reality. As far as I know, and someone please correct me if I’m wrong, just to have something travel at light speed, it’d need almost an infinite amount of energy. All this talk about FTL and all delve into the field of quantum mechanics. Zemata has kindly provided wiki links for some of the terms in the above excerpt. Just a warning though, they could give you a terrible headache or link you to more stuff which links you to more stuff which links you to more stuff… some people are highly susceptible to that (I’m looking at you Liyong)

Their consultant appears to be a string theorist. I wonder what he must have thought when GT invited him to talk about the Science behind games. “Guess what guys? Some video game geeks want me to appear on a show and talk about invisibility cloak and space ships.”

If TV is representative of real life, Sheldon Cooper, who has been involved in countless discussion of the Science behind comics, shows that a string theorist would probably be honoured to show us how far our current technology is from Mass Effect 2 and as a added bonus, throw in a work plan for us to get there.  Oh wait, there’s already one in the above video, he’s just missing the work plan.

Assassin’s Creed 2: Ouch, that looks like it hurts!

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The developers here touch on one of my biggest gaming pet peeves in the video – enemies that don’t react to being hit. If I hit someone with an axe, they are going to stagger, get wounded, and possibly die. At least I am assuming this, as I’ve yet to test that. I can’t stand games where you swinging away at the enemy and they don’t react until they suddenly fall down dead. I guess what I am trying to say is that I want to feel like I am actually beating someone to death.

via Assassin’s Creed 2 Combat Is Just Plain Brutal – Assassin’s Creed II – Kotaku

Reminds me of Euphoria, the AI / Physics system where each agent seemingly reacts accordingly to player actions. They start to look hand animated and repeated after a few fights. That being said, this still beats the enemy non-reacting to anything but the deathblow.

How Games Might Teach Us More About Sex

The upcoming Heavy Rain features a sequence in which its female protagonist is forced to strip for a disgusting mob boss. It’s sex but it’s not sexy, and it moves the needle for games teaching us to differentiate the two.
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This is a departure from other gameplay-based depictions of sex, Williams argues, where the object was either to reveal skin or engage in a mini-game that “reduces sex to the stabbing motions of button mashing.” He says the breakthrough lies not necessarily in a mature depiction of sex, but in delivering a new perspective on how it is understood, even if it means forcing someone in an opposite gender role to see its more degrading side.

via Forced to Strip: How Games Might Teach Us More About Sex – heavy rain – Kotaku

Borderlands: My next KaBOOOiiEEE game?

It isn’t a tactical shooter, and it isn’t a talky RPG. It steps back to the base level of both genres and then piles style and energy on top. It’s the opposite of feature creep – returning to why people wanted to shoot monsters in the face and collect shiny things in the first place. From what I played, it wouldn’t be wrong to call it shallow. It would be wrong to call that shallowness a bad thing. Pitchford again: “we’re dancing around innovation more than we’ve ever done before.” In the land of the endless cover systems, unbound carnage is king.

via Hands-On Preview: Borderlands | Rock, Paper, Shotgun

I haven’t played a mindless shooter in a while now. Sure, TF2 is fun when your team isn’t composed of 4 medics and 4 spies who can’t take out a single sentry gun, L4D is fun but I want to shoot something other than zombies with something other than a pistol or a shotgun. I must admit I miss I miss playing Unreal Tournament, there’s nothing like mindless carnage fuelled by a 6-barrel rocket-launcher.

Even with Dragon Age: Origins, Left 4 Dead 2 coming out at the same time, Borderlands suddenly became a very viable year-end treat. Killing stuff: check; rewarding for kill baddies: check; lots of guns; check. From what I read, Borderlands is looking to be a FPS primarily built on top of a Diablo-eque loot system on crack.

Still gotta hope there’s enough local or at least regional server support and non-brainless community to play with.

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[More Borderlands previews]

PSP Go, harbinger of discless gaming?

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03:  The new PSP Go is ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

[Why Everyone Should Be Watching the PSPgo – PspGo – Kotaku]

Video games stored on a disc of plastic and tucked away in a case are approaching extinction.

You can quibble about the when and the how of this happening, but the inevitability of games being sold online like music, free of their plastic prisons, is certain.

With the price drop of the PSP-3000, I’m looking into the possibility of getting one but I can’t see to find games I’d want to play on that system. That aside, I have to agree with the article pointing out that having physical game discs may soon be a thing of the past.In the past year, I’ve started buying games online via Steam and more recently Direct2Drive. Love the convenience and bye-bye to broken / cracked / defaced / microwaved game discs.

What I don’t get is why they gotta make the PSP Go so small… it’s about the size of an iPhone from what I understand.

Now in English voice-acting! [youtube 8…

Now in English voice-acting!

This is the third time I’m watching the trailer, still looks awesome to me. Would there be an Aerith moment again? Serah looks like she’s dying in the last scene, well she doesn’t have a big sword sticking out of her but she’s still dying.

Release date state side is stated as Spring 2010 and March 2010 on Wiki. Perhaps it’s time to save up for a next gen console…