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March 26, 2015

Let’s discuss Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae.

I know why you’re here.  And I don’t blame you for it.

It’s Final Fantasy.  You can’t turn away from it.  I can’t turn away from it.  Anyone who’s ever jumped on a Goomba can’t turn away for it.  The franchise keeps pulling in gamers across the board, whether they’re diehard fans or furious detractors.  And with FF15 -- formerly Versus 13 -- being an upcoming title for nearly a decade, all eyes are on Squeenix’s latest.

Not to generalize, but I’m guessing you’re here so you can see me deliver some bad news.  I don’t blame anyone for it; The Lightning Saga practically ran the franchise’s name into the ground, and it hasn’t exactly been soaring in the sky since…well, maybe as early as FF8.  Couple that with the slew of disappointments in the eighth-gen console/AAA space recently, and any given gamer has the right to suspect -- if not expect -- another debacle.  This spiffy new demo is going to be all the proof we need to skip the full game.  At least, that’s the fear.  People are just waiting for confirmation.

I know why you’re here.  And guess what?  I’m not here to tell you that the game -- Duscae or otherwise -- is terrible.  So breathe a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, I’m here to give you some bad news.

March 16, 2015

Top 10(ish) Cool Video Game Ladies

Oh, hey, March is still Women’s History Month.  So, given what month it is, and what’s a legitimate issue in the gaming world, and what sort of site this is, and what’s in the title of the post, I think it’s about time for me to highlight some pretty cool ladies in gaming.  With some caveats, of course.

So let’s set some ground rules.  One: as I’ve said, and as you know, the treatment of fictional female characters in general tends to be pretty garbage; we should have way more of them in leading roles, in games or otherwise.  THAT SAID, I don’t want to devalue other female characters just because they don’t take top billing -- because if we start doing that, we give the cold shoulder to a lot of good ones.  As you’ll see shortly.  For your satisfaction.

March 12, 2015

Do We Need Resident Evil Anymore?

So my brother bought all the episodes of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 at once without knowing if even the first one was any good, because of course he did.  And then he tried to force me to play it with him, because of course he did.  And I had a crisis of faith in the franchise based on Capcom’s latest offering, because of course I did.

Well, let me back up a bit.  I should start by saying that the Resident Evil franchise has never, ever been my jam.  My first experience with it was the GameCube remake, and even then I only played it once in exchange for my brother’s multiple runs.  The first one I ever finished was -- grab your barf bags, superfans -- RE5.  And to date, it’s the only one I’ve finished; RE6 came next, and I don’t think I need to tell you that the “great game, great experience” touted by my dear old bro was less than ideal.

So lately, I’ve been wondering if RE is still even remotely relevant -- if it’s needed in this modern age of gaming.  As it so happens, there’s never been more evidence for my concerns.

March 9, 2015

So How Do You “Idealize” Female Characters?

So March is apparently Women’s History Month.  Let’s capitalize on that…with yet another ill-advised discussion on gender politics in video games!  Rejoice, sort of!  Or, alternatively, despair!

There was an article on The Escapist a while ago that discussed the controversy surrounding a cover for a Spider-Woman comic.  Put simply, the art is what you’d call “buttnomenal”.  With the emphasis on the butt.  It’s not exactly what I’d call the greatest art I’ve ever seen, but then again my comic book collection couldn’t even fill a shoebox.  All I know is that I can respect the apparently-famous artist, but the art itself isn’t exactly something I can get behind.  Apologies for the pun.

In any case, the article got me thinking.  It actually mirrored a sentiment brought up by (the great) Jim Sterling once upon a time: the portrayal of both genders kind of sucks in video games.  But the key idea is that there’s a difference: men in games -- and fiction in general, a lot of times -- tend to be idealized.  And of course, women (sometimes literally) tend to be objectified.  There’s a difference.

March 5, 2015

A Blithering Post on Power and Respect

So if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you’ve been using the internet long enough to have heard the phrase “strong female character” -- and if you’ve been on even longer than that, then you’ll have seen rebuttals of the phrase so biting that you’d think they were straight outta Ace Attorney.  You’d think that given those arguments, the rest of this post would be about how video games need more strong female characters.    And you’re half-right.  All things considered, is there ever a time when we SHOULDN’T be asking for that?  Besides, you know, when it consistently happens in fiction?

But let me step back a bit.  Yes, women need better representation in fiction, including -- if not especially in -- video games.  It’d help if they appeared more often, but at this stage I’d take quality over quantity if it came down to it.  But you know what?  Male characters need better representation, too.  No matter the gender, any given hero or heroine could stand to get a boost in quality.  It’s more obvious with the ladies, yes, but I don’t think my demands are unreasonable.

Well, usually.  Maybe.  Possibly?  Well, that’s neither here nor there.

March 2, 2015

On the Pursuit of Next Gen -- ACT II

Have I mentioned that I don’t understand the games industry anymore?  I have?  Well, have I done it recently?  I haven’t?  All right, then.

I don’t understand this industry anymore.

February 26, 2015

Re: RE: Dragon Age: Inquisition

If it was any other game, I would have given up.  But I have faith in BioWare.  EA, not so much, but the fact that DA:I has even a tangential relationship to the Mass Effect games -- i.e. it may not have the same team, but it comes from the same figurative country -- means that I can’t write it off just because of seven or eight bad experiences.  I won’t.

So I went back in.  And sure enough, The Sidequest Trap tried to ensnare me yet again; how a set of sandy canyons manages to pack in more random NPCs needing a gofer is beyond me.  And contextually, they’re not on stable ground; imagine if you were there with the intent of scouting the area and ousting the demons, only to have someone try and strong-arm you into finding their ring.  I may be playing as the more-or-less savior of the world, but I’m not a miracle worker.  Also, I don’t care.  And when a game -- no matter the genre, but especially for something like DA:I -- makes you stop caring about the world, it’s a surefire sign that something has gone wrong.

But as it turns out, I did find something to care about.  That same something has gotten me thinking about more than just DA:I; it’s made me wonder if too many games in general are on the wrong track.

February 23, 2015

An I Hraet You Quasi/Anti-Update

If you’ve got a functioning pair of eyeballs, then you’ve probably noticed that things look a little different around here.  Not different enough to make you go “Yikesy mikesy!” I’d bet, but enough to at least earn a partially-raised eyebrow.  I wouldn’t call the new look a complete overhaul of the blog, because it isn’t; I just tweaked things here and there in terms of aesthetics.  Not the layout.  And even then, I’m not 100% sure I’ll stick with everything here; the color scheme looks as sickly as I did not too long ago when I learned first-hand why you should never gamble with year-old honey mustard dressing.

Consider it a lesson I’ll take to heart.

Anyway, the biggest and most important change -- one that I should have made a long time ago -- is that the post background is white, while the post text is black.  The colors are inverted.  It doesn’t look as cool as the last setup, but from what I’ve heard, it’s certainly more readable.  And that’s what I need to go for right now more than anything; the reason for that is because hopefully, I’ll have people do even more reading on this blog soon enough.  And it’d probably help my case if I wasn’t doing my best to make people go blind.  Just a hunch, though.