Jamison Trumpets

Video Game Reviewers: Ask Yourself This Question

May 19th, 2010 by DanielRGT

I read a fantastic article (and by fantastic I mean pile of dog shit) the other day written by a gentleman (idiot) over at IGN (Canada). The article, in layman’s terms, stated that sequels need to die out, and that if you like sequels you’re awful and don’t like games or support games for that matter. He then goes on to say how much he likes sequels, but just kidding they desperately need to die, seriously guys fuck sequels. (“Sequels killed my brother.”)

His big analogy to wrap up his fantastically written article goes something like this (Author’s Note: I am paraphrasing a great deal here, so this is not what he said word-for-word, but pretty damn close to it):

“I lived in some shithole when I was a kid. This place sucked, you know? Well, you don’t know so I’ll explain it. It sucked, it sucked forrealz. But I liked it, maybe because I was a stupid kid. It had this magical charm that places have when you’re a very unintelligent kid. I went back there years later to visit the place where I grew up, and I realized how awful it was. This has something to do with video games somehow.”

I’ll translate the above quote for you, just so you don’t have to go through all the painstaking work I ended up doing to decipher these hieroglyphics. He equates his shitty hometown to original versions that sequels are based off of (Example: Super Mario Bros.). He then proceeds to equate his “growing up and returning to his awful hometown” as how he, as a supposed “adult gamer”, didn’t quite feel the same spark he felt when he was a horrible child.

Now here are some reasons why this guy is an idiot (other than the fact that he’s blatantly one). First of all, his analogy (in case you didn’t notice) makes no sense. Not even a little really, in fact it’s not even related to what his article is about (which if you forgot, was about sequels to video games). His analogy really states this:

“Old games are great when you are a kid, but when you get older the old games are not as great.”

This would make sense if you were a crazy person, but it doesn’t translate well over here in sanity-land. Old games are great when you are a kid, and the majority of the time they retain their greatness into the future as well. Sequels, while containing similar characters, settings, and sometimes mechanics, are completely different games in their own right and (with the exception of how they relate to their prequel) should be treated as such. Super Mario 64 is astronomically different than Super Mario Bros., with the exception of the characters used.

Eventually, he brings fighting games into his argument bringing up the widely received game, “Street Fighter IV.” In his article, he reminisces of the days he spent playing Super Street Fighter II on his SNES (which if you think about it, falls under his veil of sequels that shouldn’t exist thanks to those Roman Numerals there) and how he had so much trouble doing his fireballs back in the day. Those quarter-circle forward motions were a doozy man, let me tell you.

Now with the newer addition, he says that he still has the same trouble doing those quarter-circle forward motions which, if you knew anything about Street Fighter IV, you would instantly recognize as bullshit because you can’t do much in that game without accidentally doing quarter-circle forward motions. This is one of the game’s actual downsides as it were, but either he has never played Street Fighter IV or he forgot that quarter-circle forward motions involve the joystick part of the controller, you know that stick that moves the character around.

I can easily get on board with what was probably going through his head when he wrote this article (other than the cocaine), and that is nowadays it’d be refreshing to see some original games. No doubt, original games are always exciting to see and they, if done right, bring something extraordinary to the table. The fact of the matter is, however, when an original game comes out the developers and publishers instantly recognize that a sequel would be received fairly well, and even if you put it up to a “poor choice” by that developer/publisher, a lot of the time it is what the fans want.

This stems from the fact that a lot of the time, severe originality is a “turn-off” as it were to gamers. Familiar mechanics, setting, and gameplay put the gamer at ease and create an environment that is easier to have fun in. Games such as Katamari Damacy (which if you haven’t played, is extremely wacky and Japanese) are so vastly original that some gamers may think, “I’m not sure what’s going on here. This is fucking insane.” They’d rather sit in the comfort zone of Mario or Link, knowing easily what to expect from the game: platforms and pigs.

This doesn’t mean sequels are bad though, in fact they’re healthy. Sequels, if done right, bring something new to that series and are either executed great (e.g. Kingdom Hearts 2) or executed poorly and end up falling flat (e.g. Every Sonic Game after Sonic Adventure). These slight alterations to the series open the doors to change and originality, which eventually create great original titles that may not have been able to be received as well earlier, but can now be received with open arms.

So, as the title of this post says, I really wish video game reviewers would ask themselves this particular question:

“What exactly is a game?”

Part of me really feels that video game reviewers end up having to play way too many video games to do their job, and as a result almost get desensitized by it all. They’ve lost touch on what a game really is; a form of entertainment in order to achieve the abstract concept known as “fun.” Nowadays, gamers get split up into two categories: Casual and Hardcore. To me, what type of gamer you are is irrelevant. A game either appeals to you or doesn’t, there’s no such thing to me as a game that is strictly casual or hardcore.

Sequels, while unoriginal, fall under the category of game. You can bring up all the questions you’d like on whether they should exist or not, but the fact of the matter is the only question that really matters is if those games are worth playing; if they are fun at all. If the answer is no, then maybe you could make the argument that the game shouldn’t have existed, or maybe it could have been executed a little better, but if the game is outright fun there is no reason to ever think that a particular brand of games should die out, even if they do seem unoriginal to you.

I understand that with reviewing gamers comes great difficulty, as well as timing issues. Reviewers are often playing lots of games in a short period of time, and this brings up whether or not they can fully appreciate the game or not. Sure, you can have a “first impression” as it were, but I don’t think you can fully enjoy the game outright having a deadline impending.

I don’t expect for this article to change much of anything (especially considering the audience for this blog being to people I know), but it’d be nice to see less articles proving how asinine video game reviewers can be, and more showing how they truly understand what a game really is.

Left 4 Dead (2), Killing Floor, and Et Ceterated Bullshit

November 3rd, 2009 by DanielRGT

Recently, I picked up the game Killing Floor on Steam. I’m not going to go into great detail about how I think the game is or what the game can do (you can do that by yourself you lazy whore), but it’s a pretty good game that’s been keeping me entertained for a little bit. In short, the game is a zombie shooter that works in “waves”, that is to say you must survive for several numbers of waves of zombies to survive until the “boss” zombie, then if you defeat him the map is over and you are taken to a new map. That’s the premise in short, and there’s some XP leveling up bullshit but that’s going way too far into the game and I’m sticking by my “you-look-it-up-goddamnit” policy.

Now in contrast, there’s a game like Left 4 Dead. Fans of this game look at Killing Floor and their giant floppy boner (this is not oxymoronic, this is simply a comment on the type of people who have hard ons for L4D) for Left 4 Dead goes nuts. They become Jason Stavin’ Angry, saying Killing Floor is just a cheap knockoff of Left 4 Dead and how Left 4 Dead is a much much better game and how if you play Killing Floor you’re just a great big ol’ faggot.

Classy ladies over on the Left 4 Dead side.

Meanwhile on the Killing Floor side there’s a bunch of indy gamer cockasses who go “Left 4 Dead is such bullshit (Translation: Left 4 Dead is too mainstream), Killing Floor is the best zombie fucking shooter ever goddamnit. You play Left 4 Dead? Fuck Left 4 Dead, I see a Left 4 Dead player I kill ’em.”

In short, it’s two fanboys to two games throwing their shit at each other.

My opinion of the matter is this: Killing Floor and Left 4 Dead are two different games. The only thing they have in common are zombies and guns. Comparing these two games when they are built to be two different games and are two different games is the dumbest thing. One is a campaign story-based multiplayer first-person zombie shooter. The other is a wave based RPG first-person zombie shooter.

Now if you simply comparing them as “games” then fine, you can say “I like this Killing Floor/Left 4 Dead better than Killing Floor/Left 4 Dead.” But that can be said in the same way that I believe that Street Fighter is a far superior game to that of Qbert (and as such, all Qbert fans can suck my dick. Respectively.)

It’s time to head over to the second part of this blog post, which is also zombie related: Left 4 Dead 2. I played the demo over the weekend and here are my thoughts:

  • -It’s like Left 4 Dead.
  • -Like, exactly like it.
  • -Ok, I know it’s the sequel but maybe it could be a bit more different.
  • -Model changes do not constitute “different.”
  • -Ok, well I mean I guess you can pick up melee weapons now and hit shit with them. That’s cool I guess.
  • -25% more black people.
  • -I’m not racist.
  • -Nor am I gay.
  • -There’s new weapons.
  • -They shoot bullets.
  • -Ironically I am talking in bullet points.
  • -That was a horrible pun.
  • -Couldn’t it just be a little different?
  • -There’s a football playing infected who charges your ass.
  • -He only knows how to run in a straight line though.
  • -So if you get hit by him you’re awful.
  • -You got hit by him didn’t you.
  • -You’re awful.
  • -I mean there could be SOME differences.
  • -Oops I didn’t pre-order it I don’t get showered in Valve presents.
  • -The sky is much bluer.
  • -Ok, I guess that’s because it takes place during the day instead of at night.
  • -Fuck you for pointing that out fag.
  • -No goddamn differences.

That’s what I think. Suck it Qbert fans.

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