Kyle Franco

I'm a full time college student going for a Bachelors in English Literature. I love reading, writing, video games, nature, hiking, and just being around fun people. I enjoy long walks on the beach and am single (if anyone one is interested ;-) I'm an aspiring writer/game designer, and this current point in my life I work 30 hours in a retail job, go to school full time, and write here at GI. My main two aspirations in life are to write novels and be a part of video game design. You can contact me at my Skype, which is "ratataska"

Aug 022011
 

With all the recent cyber attacks by hackers spreading through the news in the past few months it’s not much of a surprise to find that there are hackers out there who enjoy spending their time harassing  independently run servers. In the past week or so a server that prides itself on being one of the last Battlefield 1942 servers has come under a continual hack-attack. The hacker has kept their eye on the server and has made it their god-given-duty to make sure that everytime the server has a decent amount of players populating that it will be quickly shut down.

At first it seemed as though the server was being shut down via a Denial of Service attack, but after a little investigation the administrators of the website found that the hacker was actually shutting the server down from within the site via the in-game terminal. For the time being the servers admins can’t find a way to combat the hacker and have thus been forced to give out passwords to those they personally know, and without the said password there’s no access to the site.

 

You can find all of the original information in the following links:

Report of the hacker

The hacker is found out

 

Aug 012011
 

An Australian company that made a big splash a few years back with the claim they have created a way to give video games an “unlimited level of detail” with a technology that is widely used in scientific fields has recently made a comeback. Euclideon has recently posted two youtube videos going into great detail on how this technology works and just how truly superior it is to the current technology of polygon textures.

I have to say that after seeing this video I nearly wet myself. Take a look at their videos here.

Jul 312011
 

Blizzard seems to be following in the foot steps of the currently popular F2P service that many games have been offering, not by offering the newest addition to the Diablo series for free of course but by giving players the option of using real money in exchange for in-game items. Diablo III players will be able to use their actual cash to obtain items such as armor and weapons from the auction house.  You can check out a full discussion on the announcement at the Reddit thread where the picture below was found

Jul 312011
 

Some really dedicated Zelda fans over at MajorasMask3D.com have created an online petition in the hopes that they can help Nintendo get the ball rolling on a remake of Majoras Mask for the Nintendo 3DS. Currently the petition has reached 10,000 signatures. While 10k signatures may not seem like a lot in terms of sales you should keep in mind that this has only been up for about a single day. Hopefully these dedicated fans can gain enough signatures to show Nintendo that a Majoras Mask remake would be very profitable.

Jul 312011
 

 

 

If you’re one of the zillions (the actual numbers are closer to gabillions) of gamers who couldn’t wait to get out of school or work so that you could run home and play DoTA until the wee hours of the morning, when the dew had just settled on the grass, the roosters were roostering, and the Scottish were playing their bagpipes to another glorious morning that rose onto the highlands. What was I talking about? Oh yeah DoTA2.

Well if you were one of the many people who lost sleep over DoTA then you’re obviously already informed that there is a DoTA2 in the works over at Valve.

Every now and then someone at a video game developer makes a mistake, and when this happens we the players are given a treat to whet our pallet’s for an upcoming release. The mistake here is that a Valve employee accidentally let a DoTA2 change log slip, and while they may have deleted it from the original page that it was posted on a Reddit user by the name of  ”Smashman2004″ was kind enough to share his or her screenshot with us. Thank you Smashman!

Jul 272011
 

The Humble Bundle is a bundle of indie games that people can purchase without having to worry about any sort of DRM, or having to worry whether or not the games will run on their Mac, windows, or Linux machine, since the games are compatible with all three Operating Systems. What makes the Humble Bundle truly unique is that customers can set whatever they wish to be the price of the bundle. This means that you can pay as much as One Million dollars or as little as a penny. This is because the Humble Bundle is for the sake of charity, not profit. The money that is spent on the Humble Bundle goes to charities like Child’s Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The Child’s Play charity was originally started by Penny Arcade  as a way to help hospitalized children by giving them games and video game systems in the hopes of keeping them entertained and in good spirits.

Despite the self-set-pricing system that the Humble Bundle uses there are still cyber-pirates out there who upload and pirate the charity-based-package.

That’s right, there are people out there who are literally stealing from sick and hospitalized children (not to mention developers, and the EFF) and in effect violating the entire spirit of this good-natured offer. This years Humble Bundle #3 is currently being pirated over at the usual places. (No, I’m not giving any of you the links because I absolutely refuse to support something as self-centered as this)

Who does something like this? Who steals from a charity?

If you want to help out some kids then head on over to the Humble Bundle website. You’ll have the thanks and respect from the folks over at Penny Arcade and Gaming Irresponsibly along with the gratitude of the children that you’re giving to.

Jul 242011
 

I’ve been hearing an inglorious amount of news lately about id’s new baby, and so far, . Yes, the game looks gorgeous, and yes I’d love to see what id has done with their new engine, but I’m sick and tired of hearing this game being called innovative and fresh. It isn’t. In fact, almost every bit of this game has been done to death.

It’s too similar to games that are already out there

I don’t know about the lot of you, but RAGE just looks like a hodge-podge of other games that have already been released. When reading about this game all I can think about is how much more I would prefer to play other games that it’s similar to, such as Fallout 3 or Borderlands.

Borderlands

  • Vehicular Combat: RAGE will incorporate a large portion of combat driving/racing into it’s game-play, with players being able to upgrade their cars as they win races. Nice idea, but this has been a feature of Borderlands for a few years now.
  • Landscape: The landscape of RAGE consistently reminds me of Pandora. There’s no way around it, these two games are far too similar.
  • RPG Mechanics: The integration of rpg mechanics. It’s not solely a Borderlands feature, but it’s been done to death. This seems to be a feature that a lot of game designers out there throw in just for the hell of it.
Fallout 3
  • Tired Story: It’s another post-apocalyptic world. Oh Joy! Another one? Well gee, I just can’t wait to get started on something that I’ve already experienced in Fallout and countless other games!
  • Similar Opening: The player emerges from a buried pod that was used to escape  the apocalypse. Yup, Fallout.
RAGE will include a racing mode. In this mode players will be able to upgrade their vehicles by winning races, but hasn’t this already been done? I mean in terms of racing games this isn’t something new, in fact

 this is pretty damn old by now, and while the addition of this surely sweetens the pot a little it still isn’t innovative in the least.
id has thrown in rpg mechanics, a post apocalyptic wasteland, vehicular combat, and even racing. The question is; is there anything new and creative that they have added to the game?
From all the trailers and game-play videos that I’ve watched so far there is really only one interesting feature that this game has to offer, and that is the “Mega Texure Technology” that id is touting as part of their new engine. With this new technology id is able to hand-make different parts of the game, instead of having to create a pattern and have that repeat throughout the landscape. This means that each patch of ground can be hand made and unique. I’m pretty anxious to see this actually. I’m kind of a game engine nerd, and I just love to see what new game engines bring to the table in terms of expanding a game developers horizon.
I’m not wowed by RAGE in the least bit, but I’m still considering picking up a copy because I really want to see ids shiny new game engine, and I don’t want to wait around for DOOM 4 to come out in order to see it.
Jul 202011
 

Sometimes people can get carried away over new and exciting ideas that can be seen on the far horizon. This is very true in the case of Battlefield 3 many gamers are eagerly awaiting this new addition to the award winning online series and I’m sure that some are even spreading the barbed wire around their room to give it more of a Battlefield feel.

It’s an upcoming release that is enjoying a seemingly endless amount of hype at the moment, and if we consider the past Battlefield series entries then it’s hype is rightly deserved. There is always a minimum of one person out that in the gamer-sphere that will see a game as being pointlessly hyped up and that people are just jumping the gun in terms of excitement. Today David Jaffe (Game Designer of the Twisted Metal series, and the first God of War) is one of those people.

About an hour ago David Jaffe tweeted about his vexation at gamers and the journalists out there who have been hyping up Battlefield 3, before any of us have actually had a chance to play it.

davidscottjaffe

.@DougButabiJTV 100% correct. But see, this is what I meant the other day: the issue for you and others like you may very well be a) you are doing too many things at the same time to actually read what I write beyond the headlines or b) your reading comprehension skills are not where they should be. Did I say the press and gamers should applaud and celebrate the amazing visuals (and the folks responsible for them) of the E3 build of BF3? Yes I did. But did I ALSO SAY that we as gamers- and the gaming press- need to be able to tell/appreciate (and report on) that amazing visuals do not equate to amazing gameplay? I did! And I also said that until BF3 shows more of its gameplay, that everyone saying BF3 was AMAZING and was GAME OF THE SHOW was both damaging and juvenile and- on the part of journalists who said such things- damaging. My point was not negative- as you accuse me of being- but more passionate about the idea that IF the game medium really is capable of expressing amazing thoughts and ideas (or even just amazingly fresh entertainment) then we need to push those who make the games (including myself) to deliver on the gameplay front as well as the graphic front. To me, BF3 MAY be GAME OF THE YEAR (and I want to play the beta cause I’ve liked the other BF games and am eager to see what they’ve done to evolve the series) but UNTIL they show that they are an amazing game and MORE than just amazing graphics, that tank scene WAS BATTLEZONE HD. And to NOT agree with that- if you are a gamer or journalist who said BF3 was an amazing GAME and should get GAME OF THE SHOW while at the same time you like to play the ‘games can be art/games are important’ card- well that just means you are either full of shit or not very bright. NOTE: SOME games can be art while other games can be pure fun entertainment, by the way. There CAN and they SHOULD be a mix (and some games- most games?-should strive to be both!!!)…but if people were hyping the gameplay of BF3 then they sure as hell didn’t explain why…and all I saw (from that tank sequence) was- at a mechanics level- BattleZone (aim and fire)…in fact, could you even move the tank’s position in the E3 tank demo from BF3 or were you just controlling a turret? If THAT’S the case, unless the turret mechanics have gotten super amazing, then it’s LESS of a play experience than BF3.”

 

 

David Jaffe brings up quite a few good points here no doubt, but as someone who has played Battlefield since its debut I have to say that Battlefield 3′s hype is very well deserved, and the fact is that we’re all just anxious to get our hands on it.

Jul 192011
 

Are you the type of person who day dreams in class of stomping on turtles, or defeating the evils of homework with a slash of your master sword?  If so then you may be cut out for work in the video game industry. That, or you may have serious mental instabilities which may have long term ramifications, like stomping on a friends beloved pet and then demanding that you receive a 1up for all of your effort.

If you are interested then there’s good news my newly made friends! I’ve decided to throw together this little article here in the hopes of giving you some small glimpse of what jobs the video game industry has in store for you. Please try to bear in mind that this is just a short crash-course in the video game industry and doesn’t hold all of the information that is out there (I’d be writing a dissertation if I even tried to).

Well, now that you’re more familiar with what this article is about, let’s get started shall we?

The beginning of Character Design.

 

Game Designer

What exactly does a Video Game Designer do you ask? Well hell, that’s as simple as having your eyes poked out with sticks!

A Video Game Designer is a person who is in charge of some part of a video games design, such as the game-play, level design, et cetera. There are various types of VG Designers out there and many of these different designers hold a variety of responsibilities, some of which focus on level design, while others have much of their time taken up by creating schedules to keep the games development on track and on time. Suffice to say this job can be just a little bit confusing since the responsibilities vary from one developer to the next, and more often than not the title itself may vary as well.

On the roles most basic level; a Video Game Designer is someone who focuses on the core of a game; in other words how the game works. A Game Designer should be able to quickly deconstruct a video game, explain what works, what doesn’t, and why. Let’s take a short side trip here so that you can get a stronger grasp on exactly what I’m talking about here.

As a Video Game Designer you should be able to tear away all of the art, writing, and the rest of what compliments a games mechanics, in order to understand and analyze what is actually going on in the gears of the game. Let’s do a quick deconstruct of Bioshock: Infinite (my favorite upcoming title) game-play footage to get the idea across.

What would you say the mechanics of the game are all about?

Here’s what I would say:

  • The Player interacts with a large linear environment from a first-person-camera perspective. In less murky wording this simply means that it’s a first-person-shooter.
  • Since much of the game is made of large open areas the player uses a suspended-rail-system to traverse the landscape
  • The combat relies on a mix of projectile, melee, and powerful (magic) abilities to defeat crowds of opponents, or individual ones.
  • The (magic) powerful abilities in the game can be used in conjunction with other more basic weaponry of the game to increase damage, slow down targets, distract enemies, and so on. The crows that the player is able to use heavily distract the AI that they are swarming over, which allows the player to take their time in attacking or find a quick escape route.
  • The suspended-rail-system is strung between multiple floating pieces of the level, and so the players must react quickly if they want to switch from one rail to another, or they may fall to their demise.
  • Damage is displayed to the player through the use of a bloody screen when they are being damaged, or have sustained serious damage.
  • The player can magnify their own powers by co-operating with a friendly AI character that they escort through the levels. The AI character creates a storm cloud which magnifies and chains the players electricity power, which allows for massive area-of-effect damage.
  • Large and powerful enemies plague the characters travels through the game and in order to defeat them the player must be able to think strategically, or simple be relentless in their attacks while sustaining minimal damage.
In many different game developers the game designer is/are the person/people who creates the idea for the game, first by figuring out the mechanics of the game and then building on it from there. There are interacting levels of coordinating artistry, character design, and video animation–all combined in the hopes that what you’ve made actually works with your game engine.
Now keep in mind that I’m no expert here, but I am an aspiring game designer/writer, and in writing this section I hope that I’ve helped you understand what a game designer is a little bit more than you previously did.

 

Video Game Journalism (Hey, that’s me!)

Pay me by reading this article.

Do you enjoy working long hours, never being appreciated by your readers, and playing horrible games so that you can tell other people not to play them? Then you’ve come to the right place! Because we here at Gaming Irresponsibly are experts of all these things!

A video game journalist spends their time writing articles on a variety of subjects to do with the video game industry, the gaming community, and just video games in general. Among the articles that a  VG journalist writes are reviews, news articles, and editorials.

  • Reviews: A VG journalist will often have the video game that they have to review delegated to them without any real say in the matter. This means that as a professional VG Journalist you may have to spend a good amount of time on the latest entry in the Naruto games, while your editor will have chosen the next Gears of War for to review themselves. While this may be true for the professionals, we here at GI have a say in what we want to review. While we do our best to focus on AAA titles to bring in the readers there are times when some of us review games that we enjoy in our own free time that readers won’t necessarily eat-their-foot-off to find out whether it’s any good or not. Such as my Steambirds review. Yes, we here at GI pride ourselves on freedom for our writers, a friendly gamer atmosphere, and on Tuesdays we sacrifice to our Glorious and Dark Lord C’thulhu. All Hail the King of Madness!
  • News Articles: Now there are a myriad of ways to obtain news that is relevant within the gaming community. I (and many, many, many others) use an RSS reader (Google Reader in my case) to keep track of official game developer/publisher websites, forums, and many other websites. As soon as something pops up that we think will be of interest to all the other gamers out there we jump on that like we’re a dog-in-heat, and get it out there in a news post for the world to read.
  • Editorials: If you aren’t already aware, an editorial is an article in which the senior editor of a publication places their opinions. In VG Journalism anyone can write an editorial (the fun isn’t just for the editors anymore), and in fact many of these types of articles happen to be the most read. A good example of this is Ryan Hillis’s /rant series of articles.
On the professional level of VG journalism it’s no doubt a bit different than what we here at GI are used to. What with all of the money that they make, the conventions that the press get to go to, and that they don’t have to work a daytime job while following their passion. We’re getting there, but it will be a while before we can all give our bosses a photo-copy of our ass and argue with them that the photo is indeed a form of two-weeks-notice.

The job can be an all-time-consuming-beast when there is a flood of new games out at the same time, and it is this beast that devours our lives and only has the courtesy to spit out the bones. So, no, as VG Journalists we do not enjoy a large amount of free time, but we love our jobs and wouldn’t trade them for anything else. If this is a job that interests you, then you can apply within our ranks. The best perks of the job are that we work out of our homes, so we don’t even have to get dressed! Seriously, right now I’m only wearing a Megadeth t-shirt and some boxers, while listening to Dio. Trust me, writing sans-pants is the only real way to write. Everyone does it.

 

Programmer

If you’re the math heavy type of person who loves staying at home and spending some quality time with your computer by refining your newly installed Linux Distribution then this may be the job for you! And despite what stereotypes may say there are female programmers, so if you are female don’t you dare skip this section! Seriously, don’t skip this section. I’ll be cross with you.

Programmers within the video game industry spend copious amounts of time crunching code in order to build that latest release of “My Little Pony” or, if they’re luck that latest AAA game that they can slap on their resume. This crunching-of-code involves so many hours of work that chances are you will be sleeping underneath your desk come Crunch Time, sucking your thumb, and humming a tear-choked tune to try and make the “bad feelings” go away.

Programmers are the detail oriented individuals who spend their time building software and games from their most basic levels. They spend much of their time trying to locate intermittent bugs in games and stamp them out before release day.

I can’t say too much about programmers since I am not one of the sort that is detail oriented, but I can assure you that programmers who work in the video game industry tend to get higher pay than the majority of their co-workers. There is of course a very good reason for this. They have a solid foundation in mathematics and an undeniable and transferable skill-set that is always in high demand in many different industries. This is the age of Computational Information Technology after all.

 

Quality Assurance (AKA: Video Game Tester)

Trust me, your eye-balls will bleed profusely after one day of this job.

This is by far the easiest, and simply the best job in the industry. The majority of people who want to work in video games attempt to get a job in the QA section because it’s a dream job. You play video games, eat Doritos and more or less just chill out all day.

Oh wow, I laughed so hard there I actually cried a bit, and I think I might need a new pair of pants.

In all seriousness though. Quality Assurance is nothing like the laze-around-dream-job that everyone seems to think it is. Imagine spending ten+ hours with a single game. Now imagine doing that for about 8 (or more) months non-stop.  Now add the fact that you’re only getting paid around ten bucks an hour to do this. Oh, and I almost forgot. You aren’t actually playing a game, you’re attempting to find any bugs that may be present within the incomplete product that kinda sorta resembles a video game.

Still sound fun? It gets a little bit more interesting actually.

As a QA team member you are assigned a piece of said game to work on. So as a QA team member you must spend 8+ hours a day finding new ways to jump into a wall in a single room in the hopes that it may break and you will be able to fall through the barrier. If you do fall through the barrier then you actually have to find out where you fell through, and then do it again. This time recording the process on video so that those responsible for fixing the barrier placement can fix the problem.

Still want this job? Then here’s an exercise that should help you fully realize what this is like.

I want you to go through your game library and pick something. Anything really, it doesn’t matter. Now spend the next 8 hours running into the walls of this room. Try to be creative with it. Run at the wall, jump, and then crouch while in the air, maybe the crouching will make all the difference, no?

Actually, now that I think about it, the prison cell in Oblivion would be perfect for this.

 

If you didn’t find anything that you think would be a fit for you, or if there simply isn’t as much information here as you’d like, then it would be a good idea to purchase Paid to Play: An Insiders Guide to Video Game Careers (It contains interviews with 100 industry professionals and veterans!). If you would enjoy seeing more in this series than you can always find a way to contact me through my profile here at GI.

Jul 162011
 

Alliance of Valiant Arms is a free-to-play title that has been around for a while but has gone largely unnoticed due to it only being available through Ijji games Steam-clone service “Reactor”. If you’ve never heard of Ijji, that’s okay, it’s owned by the Korean corporation NHN, which practically no one over here in the states has even heard of. Having now finally made its way over to Steam it is getting some attention that’s long over due.

Alliance of Valiant Arms is an online first-person-shooter that plays in a similar way to games like Global Assault or Counter Strike, and for being an f2p title, it has pretty good graphics and physics. The game-play is for the most part tactical based, with a variety of game modes to keep players entertained and beefing up their team-playing skills.

Try out the Escort mode. It's one of the best in the game.

 

In order to play AVA players must make an account with Korean game maker Ijji games, and use their launcher. So this means that once you launch the game from Steam you’ll have to face yet another game launcher in order to actually play it. The Ijji game launcher has a few downsides to it as well. It’s incredibly slow with patches and updates, so don’t expect to start playing AVA as soon as you download the client from Steam. AVA also has a tendency to shoot up and down in terms of lag. At one second my computer may be running the game at 60FPS and then the next it’s shot down to 20–its that inconsistent. I’m not sure if it’s the server or if it’s the fault of a possibly intermittent internet connection.

 

The game modes available in AVA are:

  • Annihilation- In the Annihilation game mode two teams face off in a death-match, and which team scores the set amount of kills wins.
  • Demolition- An offensive team and a defensive team face off. The defensive team defends a “bomb-point”, while the offensive team attempts to destroy it with C4. If the C4 is disarmed after being placed then the defense team wins since only one C4 is given in a game.
  • Escort- One team of players escorts a tank while it’s moving from their base to the enemies base, while the other team of players tries to destroy the tank before it reaches their base.
  • Convoy- One team must take a designated object to the target area in order to win the match. The opposing team does their best to try and stop them from completing this goal.
  • AI Mission- Players have to try to survive as long as possible against waves of AI enemies
  • Domination- Both teams complete for domination over a target.
  • Free for All Military Drill- Everyone versus Everyone in this royal rumble mode. The player to reach the score limit wins.
  • Cross Steal- A more or less CTF mode where one team tries to steal the others Nuclear Launch Key, while making sure that their own isn’t taken.

There are only three classes to choose from in AVA:

  • Sniper- Long range attacker who keeps their enemies running for cover.
  • Rifle Man- Mid range power house that keeps enemy forces at bay.
  • Point Man- the point man is strong in short range combat, but the longer the range becomes the weaker the less effective this unit becomes.

Among the standard game-play modes there has been a new addition that helps this game stand out on its own. The new addition to AVA is “The Infection”. A game mode where a few players start out as mutants and then spread their mutation through the ranks of other players by attacking them. The infected team wins by spreading the infection to every player on the map, while the uninfected team wins by finding a good place to hide so that the mutants can’t infect them. This mode sounds like an easy win in favor of the infected team but in truth is nearly impossible for them to come out on top. In every session that I’ve played it has been impossible to actually win the game because there is always one last player who has managed to find a bug in the level that allows them to hide outside of normally acceptable barriers.

All in all, I had a fun time playing this game and I have to say that if you’re a current F2P Battlefield player, drop that game and jump over to this one. It’s incalculably better.

I give Alliance of Valiant Arms a 7/10. It’s a fun game, but it’s not the best f2p title around.

PC Game

Graphics

80
 

Audio

70
 

Gameplay

50

Creativity

65
 

Execution

50
 

Offset

70
    

6.4

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Pros

  • Fun Game-play
  • team based tactics enrich the game play
  • It’s not bad to look at

Cons

  • In order to play the game players must make an Ijji account.
  • It takes forever to update the game
  • Lag in the game tends to shoot up and down whenever it feels like it
Jul 142011
 

By this point in time there have been an almost endless slew of articles that deal with sexism in video games, and many of these articles have decided to largely focus on the over-sexualization of female characters in almost every game out there. From Lara Croft’s enormous “endowments” to Ivy’s glaring interest in the BDSM scene, it’s obvious that the males on a development team tend to get pretty out of hand with the idea that sex sells. With this in mind, one has to consider: is this just being a tad perverted, or is it actual misogyny?

Who stole your clothes?!

There are countless amounts of Women’s Rights organizations, bloggers, and just women in general really, that aren’t too happy with the treatment that many female characters are receiving in video games. The claim is that the character design of women in many games is an objectification of women, which if you didn’t already know, means that these female characters are insinuating that women are portrayed in a manner simply for a male to view in simpler and more limited terms.

In some way this is true. There are a plethora of female characters that are dressed solely to be sexually appealing to a crowd of hetereosexual males or pansexual females. There are gaggles of female video game protagonists that are dressed scantily, and even more with generous bust sizes (look to your left), but should these female game icons immediately be considered as sexist representations of women?

 

Yes and No.

 

While yes it may be true that these characters are practically naked, and yes it’s also true that there are games which put female leads in some very provocative positions, it does not mean that these characters are sexist representations of women. Sexy perhaps, but not sexist. Although it can still be argued that these women being so scantily clad makes them an objectification of women, this is something that we can’t actually ascertain without confronting the artists and developers of these pro-nudist damsels.

For the half-naked female protagonists to be considered actually sexist, their portrayal has to make a negative statement about women within their actual character. As an example, lets pretend that there is a team of 3 people in [Insert Generic Video Game Title Here]. Two of them are men while the third is a woman. Now, the identification of a sexist representation of the female sex should be grounded on logic and rationality–any assumption taken to far is simply out of context. This particular female character would be a sexist representation of women if, for instance, she was displayed with negative or belittling character attributes that are clearly in contrast with her male character peers. Some of these may take shape as an age-old stereotype incorporated into the gameplay elements. To forcibly insert a female character into a situation where the gender roles show disparity would be the true definition of sexism within video games.

Is that seriously all you're wearing to the tournament?

On a side note I’d like to say that I find the overwhelming amount of practically naked female protagonists annoying.  My reasons aren’t the sort of selfless feminist kind that you’ll often find in many of the articles written about misogyny in the video game industry. I just would like to see more female leads in realistic clothing that fits their role in the game. A great example of a female lead dressed in a practical and role fitting way is Faith from Mirrors Edge, but back to the matter at hand.

The continual reproduction of stereotyped imagery in video games is the same run-of-the-mill marketing that we see from virtually every corporate entity. From women taking the center-stage in cleaning product commercials, to laundry detergent advertisements that portray men as another child that a woman has to take care of, gender based stereotypes seem to help push product from a financial and marketing perspective. While this may seem like objectification from a business standpoint, popular response would indicate that if it sells well among both sexes, it is not in fact sexist.

On the players side of the medium, there is a presence of misogyny in a place where other terrible things such as racism, homophobia, and those horrible memes dwell, the internet. Such things are abundant in cyberspace and as an extension have a very strong presence in online multiplayer games, such as Call of Duty or Halo.

Everyone expects to be insulted at one point or another while playing in multiplayer matches, with some of the most common insults questioning our sexuality, intellect, ability, weight, and more often for girls than guys, gender. With the anonymity that the internet and usernames can offer us it is often very tempting to be an absolute prick to anyone that you meet, we can make fun of a person that we hate in our personal lives without them knowing who they are being insulted by, or we can choose random victims for our verbal attacks.

While many gamers/internet users have encountered these verbal attacks at one point or another, it is often women who get some of the worst and most distasteful insults that just make you cringe

From being called whores to receiving threats about their ovaries being torn out the women over at Fat, Ugly, or Slutty have seen it all.

Courtesy of fatuglyorslutty.com

There have been times where they have been insulted by males after a round of Halo Reach, and other times where they have had threats hurled at them just for being women. It’s these childish (many of which may actually be children) males that not only ruin the fun of a game, but also do their absolute best to discourage women from playing online games by saying the absolute worst things.

I have to say that I really don’t get insulting people when losing at a game, and if I’m losing in a game then it’s obviously my lacking skill level, not that my possibly female opponent is some sort variant of whore, slut, or ugly. I don’t really have a problem with losing online games like these sexist young men do, I’ve had my ass handed to me by ex-girlfriends in Halo 3 and Soul Calibur IV and at no point did I blame them or think any less of them for it, I instead decided that I should try to get better at the game so that I could at least offer them some competition.

Within the past ten or so years developers and publishers are better aware of what lines may and may not be crossed than they have been in the past when it comes to portraying women. Many understand what is acceptable and what is just out-of-line, and I’m betting that none of them want to be slapped with a gender discrimination lawsuit. Unfortunately, some male gamers out there can still be bigoted and ignorant towards the female half of the gaming fan club.

Jul 132011
 

Anyone who tried out the original Section 8 will know that it wasn’t without its share of problems.

  • Story mode was short and nothing more than a tutorial for the multiplayer mode
  • Multiplayer fun gets lost in maps that are too large and too easy to get lost in
  • The design looks like any other sci-fi FPS.

For those who are still interested in the series after the last installment of Section 8 there’s good news.

Section 8: Prejudice is finally making its way over to the PlayStation 3, and with it comes some console exclusive content.

The PS3 exclusive content includes:

  • For the first week, anyone who purchases Section 8: Prejudice on the PlayStation Network will receive the Blitz Armor Pack and Overdrive Map Pack for free! This includes two armor skins, early unlocks, and two additional multiplayer maps.
  • The first 1000 PlayStation Plus subscribers to purchase Section 8: Prejudice will receive the exclusive in-game Hunter Armor as well as a free copy of the original Section 8.
  • Two new game modes are exclusive to the PlayStation 3; Skirmish and Assault.

 

Section 8: Prejudice will make its debut on the PSN on July 27th for $14.99, so make sure to pick it up as soon as it drops.

Jul 032011
 

5. Mortal Kombat

One of the most iconic fighting games of all time is also one of the most controversial titles within video game history. It has been blamed for a number of violent incidents involving students and children killing and hurting each other, lawsuits, and violent commercials. In one court case a thirteen year old boy stabbed his friend in the chest, the mother of the boy attempted to sue Midway. The mother of the victim stated that the boy who killed her son (Noah Wilson) was completely obsessed with the game and even more so with the character Cyrax (who is awesome). She also stated that Noah Wilson was imitating one of Cyrax’s finishing moves where Cyrax stabs his enemy in the chest, her claim about the finishing move didn’t get anywhere in court on account of the move being non-existent.

4. Grand Theft Auto series

The Grand Theft Auto series has to be the only series of games that has found heavy criticism, negative media coverage, and attempted lawsuits with more than one entry in its series. Grand Theft Auto has been blamed for shootings, it has been called a “cop killing simulator”, and according to Guinness Book of World Records in 2009 the GTA series is the most controversial series in the world. A former lawyer Jack Thompson spent much of his time attempting to get families and the loved ones of murder victims to hold the GTA series accountable for the deaths, he was disbarred in 2008 by the Florida Bar Association and fined more than $100,000.

Aside from the hookers, drug use, car theft, murder, and cop killing, the GTA series has also gathered controversy after the Hot Coffee mod which appeared in the San Andrea’s entry in the series. The mod shows a graphic scene of sex between the player-character and their at the time current girlfriend in the game.

3. DOOM

DOOM is one of the best first-person-shooters that has ever been developed and in it’s hay-day was a center-piece for a lot of controversy.

The biggest was of course the Columbine School Shooting in 1999. It was found that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who had orchestrated the Columbine Massacre were avid players of the game, and because of this many school shootings that took place after Columbine were blamed on DOOM, and many other games like it. The fact that the two killers played DOOM regularly played its own part in the after stories that surrounded the Columbine Massacre, with stories of Eric Harris creating DOOM levels that looked exactly like Columbine and filling them with enemies that mimicked his school mates. He also had been quoted as saying the the masscre will be ”like fucking Doom“, and “it’ll be like the LA riots, the Oklahoma bombing, WWII, Vietnam Duke ‘Em and Doom all mixed together”, and that his shotgun was “straight out of the game”. While it does seem that Eric Harris was a bit too obsessed with the game, multiple studies have found no correlation between school shootings and violent video games.

2. Postal 2

Excessively violent, perverse, cruel, and just plain offensive are a few of the first things that come to mind when thinking about Postal 2. In Postal 2 the player has the absolute freedom to do as they wish within a small city called Paradise which is inside of Arizona. Players can murder the citizenry of this city with a variety of weapons from an  M16 to shovels. Players also have the ability to flash the characters genitals at people, use cats as silencers, and urinate on anyone and anything. For the most part there’s no plot to the game, just a few mindless tasks here-and-there like picking up the milk from the grocery store, or getting a copy of a book signed by Garey Coleman. It’s the way that the player decides to go about these tasks that makes the game fun. Will you patiently wait in line to get Garey Coleman’s autograph or will you murder Garey Coleman and take the autographed copy off of his desk?

Although the game is exceedingly violent and offensive in a variety of ways its only real controversy came on the heels of the 2006 Dawson College shooting. Since the perpetrator of the shooting had been known to player the game from time to time it was put in the spotlight in the media directly following the shooting.

The game never sold very well, but despite this it has still managed to gather something of a cult following and even has a movie adaptation.

1. RapeLay

RapeLay is by far the most controversial video game that has ever been made. This is because RapeLay is a game where you, well, rape people. To be more specific you don’t rape just anyone, no, you rape a mother and her three daughters. I will not be further illustrating the story. If you’re that interested, you can look the game up yourself, or even better, seek psychiatric help.

The game was made by Illusion Soft whose games are only made available inside of Japan. RapeLay however found its way onto Amazon and because of this mistake was able to be distributed throughout The United Kingdom. The game was heavily criticized in reviews made for the game and immediate action was sought by Keith Vaz (a member of the British Parliament). He vowed to bring the game to the full attention of the British Parliament and to have the game banned from being sold in the U.K. Before he could effectively act on this promise the game was removed from Amazon’s website. This did not end the games controversy however.

RapeLay came to the attention of Equality Now (a global women’s rights organization). Equality Now urged activists to write to Illusion Soft and the Prime Minister of Japan Taro Aso stating that the game breaches Japans obligations under the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. These actions have helped the game become restricted from being produced or sold in any country.

 


Jul 022011
 

Levels

There are only two levels in the UC3 multiplayer beta, since it’s a beta that’s to be expected.

Jump!

The Chateau- The Chateau level is a dilapidated mansion full of holes in the walls, broken beams, and fallen stairs. These holes and signs of decay help level out the playing field by making it impossible for anyone to camp in any area, which means that players should always be on the move and keeping themselves alert to anyone that may be sneaking up on them.

The Runway- The Runway level is broken into two sections. In the first section a cargo plane is speeding down a runway while a few flat-backed trucks surround the plane from its sides and its back. The Hero team spawns at first inside of the plane and will have to defend the three entrances (left side, right side, and back) from the Villain team. The Villain team spawns in the trucks and so they must jump from one truck to the next in order to reach the moving plane and get inside of it.

It’s a really brilliant level, and it shows just how much effort and creativity Naughty Dog is capable of. I don’t think I’ve ever played such a fun and perfectly made moving level. The levels only negative side is that it’s very one-sided since the Hero’s only have to defend three entrances and are provided a good amount of cover, while the Villain’s have to keep moving without much cover in order to get inside of the plane. This section of the level seems to always fall in the Hero teams favor.

Jump Again!

The second section of the Runway level takes place in and around a warehouse complex.

There are very few tight spaces in and around the warehouse, so most of the time players are traversing through or around the building while putting themselves out in the open. There are a few planes, crates, and forklifts in the level, but nothing really out of the ordinary or eye-catching. There are no turrets so the level is purely player-versus-player.

 

Modes

Free for all- It’s simple enough. Everyone is after everyone and there is nowhere to hide or to run to. In other words it’s complete chaos.

Team Deathmatch- Two teams face off in a simple kill-or-be-killed match of Gameplay. One team is titled the Hero team while the other is the Villain team.

And kill some more things!

Co-op Arena- In Co-Op Arena a team of 3 players takes on waves of AI enemies. This game mode is made up a few different sub-modes.

Siege: In the Siege mode players must stay within a small designated area in order for their kills to count.  The fighting can get a little fierce in this mode which can sometimes force players out of the designated area.

Survival: Players survive wave after wave of enemies.

Gold Rush: One of the three players must take a small statue to a series of treasure boxes in order to gain points and finish the mission. The statue slows down the player holding it considerably, so it’s up to the other two players to defend them.

Three Team Deathmatch-Three teams of two players face off in a life-or-death battle. May the best pair of buddies win.

Hardcore- A team deathmatch mode where players can no longer use any special customization options, such as kickbacks. It’s just each players skill versus the others.

Gear

Additional gear can be gained in the game by finding treasure pieces that fall from defeated enemies. Each treasure piece that the player finds is part of a set, and once the player completes that set they are given a piece of gear as a reward, such as boots or a stylish new jacket.

Buddy System

Uncharted 3 multi-player uses a system that is more or less the same squad-based system that you find in games like Battlefield Bad Company 2. The Buddy system automatically assigns a player a buddy at the start of team death match rounds and co-op rounds. Having a buddy allows you to be ressurected under certain circumstances by that buddy and be able to spawn on them so you won’t have to use the random map spawn option.

Gameplay

The game play of the UC3 mult-player is heavily reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid Online. You creep around corners, sneak up on other players, and win/lose shoot-outs while taking cover behind anything that you can find. The melee system can be a bit tricky at first, but once you’ve got it down it can be robust and one of the best ways to dispatch your foes quickly and quietly. There are a myriad of weapons that players can use in their multi-player experience . Players are able to use Assault Rifles, Mounted Machine Guns, Grenades, Grenade Launchers, RPG’s, Sniper Rifles, and of course pistols. This variety of weapons makes for a well balanced experience where players don’t have to worry about someone spamming the RPG over and over again since it’s ammo is very limited.

The best and most interesting feature of the game play is that players can climb over almost anything just like in any of the other entries in the Uncharted series. It’s a solid multiplayer experience and a great addition to the upcoming UC3.

Jun 292011