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Monday, April 29, 2013

I've loved video games for such a long time. That is why I have a blog about video gaming as do many others. I have been up and down about the future of video games hence the name of this blog. What is continuing that roller coaster of mixed emotions about video games, right now is Microsoft. Yes, I am going to give my piece about always online systems and subscription models for future xbox live members. This is where I believe my points will maybe reach that one person who they need to reach.

I will get right into it and say that always online systems are pretty much here folks. So sad but true as all heck. I want you to capture how you feel about in a bubble. In fact write down how you feel about always online systems right now...i'll wait. Okay now that you've done that save it and ask yourself if you feel the same way after microsoft's press conference. I can almost guarantee you won't feel the same. If so just wait until the console is available to buy and tell me if you truly feel the same way.

"write down how you feel about always online systems right now..."

By the time May 21st rolls around the debate of always online will change for a different course. Why, because Microsoft will actually tell you the rumor is true.  With them stepping up and making this announcement and confirming the rumors what's next. I give you a hint its one of the stages of grief. Yes just as simple as that you will go through one of the stages of grief till you finally come to the one that matters to most in my eyes Acceptance.

"Yes just as simple as that you will go through one of the stages of grief"

I have already accepted that the next xbox is going to require a constant online connection. I am okay with that because it just simply will not enter my home. Off of that preface alone. I am not sad, nor am I angry, I have already gone through those phases.  I can see how this move will solidify a future in gaming for Microsoft. What I cannot see is how it solidifies a future of Microsoft for gamers. I speak to everyone who says that always online consoles are not going to be what they are going to buy next-gen and hope that they stay true to their word.

"What I cannot see is how it solidifies a future of Microsoft for gamers."
As a respected colleague of mine questioned what device in your home right now requires a constant internet connection? I quickly answered a cellphone but I was incorrect. The truthful answer is nothing, not one item in your home right now requires a constant internet connection to work. So why should you invite microsoft with a camera/kinect to be the first. In my eyes the answer is you should not. Simply put it's an invasion of privacy, its wrong, and it violates the core premise of why the Xbox was invited into your home. We as gamers invited Microsoft into our home as guest because they said they were there to provide entertainment in the form of video games.

"Not one item in your home right now requires a constant internet connection"
With the next following months leading to the announcement and this years E3. We will see how a billion dollar giant will use the marketing industry in order to trojan horse its agendas. It will be interesting to watch from my perspective. Unfortunately it will be like sitting back and watch the city burn. It can burn because millions let a ruler in and destroy their way of life. On the other hand it can burn in riots of opposition. Sadly I know every mainstream video game news media is going to side with Microsoft vs. standing up and really placing an emphasis on the harm an always on console/camera really can be to the future of electronics and electronic media.

Bottom Line: We are on the verge of a digital revolution, and I already know what side I am on.


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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I just read this article on Gamasutra, and then I realized something bad has been embedded in my gamestyle. As I read through the rant of  Mitu Khandaker I gasped. Have I been avoiding games because they don't depict my ethnic background. I thought back on the last memorable game experiences, I found some clues. Scanning further I thought what games have I put off, and why? Yes, some evidence there too. Am I currently playing video games that make a case for my theory. The answer I slowly let sink in was, yes.

San Andreas

A big game from my past was definitely Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Playing as C.J. was  comparable to living in a 90's gangsta rap music video.  My days consisted of carjackings, shoot outs with the police, hydraulics on my ride, kicking it with "the homies" smoking and drinking brews (in-game). To me it was, what a gangster character would do. It was what I would do if I was a gangster. For those who want to say it was stereotypical. I would agree but would say that satirical would be a more accurate wordage. My memories of GTA:San Andreas were great, and it's easily my favorite GTA. The question now boggling me is, was it enjoyable because the character was black?

Mass Effect

Another example that I thought back on was a little more enlightening to recap. This experience spanned over three games. Before I was lent Mass Effect by my good friend theactionfigure. I never really ventured into the Rpg genre of games. Zelda Ocarina of Times was the closest I had came to an rpg beforehand. The first aesthetic aspect of Mass Effect that lured me into the game was that I was able to make my character a black male. I was injected with a power i'd rarely experienced, so when I played I embodied that character because it incarnated me. The fact that Ashley Williams also shared the name of one of my sisters immersed me into the experience too.

I was happy to share this experience with my family. They watch me play the game and cheered for the choices they wanted me to make. The funny thing is when Mass Effect ended and it was time to pick up Mass Effect 2. When character died at the beginning I was sadden. The effects of that made me really examine this game experience, came from my second play through. Weeks before the release of Mass Effect 3 I played through the series again, but this time I made a female character. I did not want to see my guy die at the beginning of ME2 second time around. Plus the theme of the Phoenix rising from the ashes seemed more suitable for a female character at the time. The question from this adventure, did I not want to see the black male die?

First Person Perspective

The next thing I started piecing together. Do I play fps’ because I feel I am the guy? The answer is yes. When I play Battlefield I am that soldier. I am so wrapped up in the experience I feel as if that m16 is my wife. When I am piloting a Atlas D-DC in the Mechwarrior Universe I am myself. Even in the role play of the games universe I designed my characters backstory to parallel my past love life. Each of  these experiences are through the first person. So in from my mind, and perspective I am me. No one can tell me otherwise. Even when playing Minecrack I build from my own perspective. With my avatar being a black guy. So the question here is, do I pick fps that allow me to be myself because, I get to be black?

Games I have yet to play

I hear Bioshock Infinite is great. I told myself that I was going to pick it up day one. Till this day i do not own Bioshock as of yet. Am I missing out on this game because the two main characters are white and not black. Do I imagine the game of Bioshock Infinite having an accurate depiction of african americans. Does the game even have blacks in Colombia? I think I have been avoiding Bioshock because of unanswered questions like this. As well as the main character is not who I subconsciously want to be. Other games that fall into this same dilemma are the Witcher 2, Far Cry 3, and Halo 4. While most people who will read this have played these titles, I haven’t. Now I been recommend each of these titles by male and female gamers. Why haven’t I ran out to pick these games up?  

I can see my white buddy saying “You’re just bitter” and now I find myself thinking am I bitter...has the lack of character diversity warped my buying habits. Have I subconsciously avoided certain games because of their main character choice. When Splinter Cell comes around will I look at Sam fisher this time around and say he’s not black so i’d rather not play as him this time around.

Bottomline: At E3 I hope to see a new I.P. with a diverse lead character. SUBCONSCIOUSLFY

Avatar Movement Program:
Your Microsoft Avatar should be able to move in hundreds of thousands movements, these movements should be unlocked/learned as your overall gamer score increases. Say for instance when you unlock 15g in a game like "Halo 5" your avatar would learn a movement such as a cartwheel.
Upon gaining all the achievements in a game like "Halo 5" your avatar could learn a game specific movement, i.e. an Halo inspired movement such as master chief gunning with the Battle Rifle.
By having Avatar movement rewards program with game specific achievements  it would show your friends and your community that you have achieved 100% success in achieving all the achievements in a game that you and friends play. Giving a more visual representation and an increased reflection of your gaming score.
Players will want to purchase games just to increase their gamerscore, in order for their avatar to have more movement options/abilities. If players would like to purchase specific movements they can still purchase them via XBL marketplace. But in this case the Avatar movements that are learned/unlocked from completing all achievements in a single game, should only be obtainable by getting 1000/1000 points for that game.
Kinect Integration:
With the purchase of each kinect game, players are allowed to create a 15-30 second custom Avatar movements. This will increase sales of the upcoming kinect titles and make a significant use of the kinect with the Avatar program. Also these custom movements can be shared via XBL Marketplace.
With the launch of new systems on the horizon many people are ready to line up for their next box. I really want to be there in line with them or waiting on that Amazon package. But one thing we all know about early adapters is they usually get screwed. With reports of dev-kits for the next box and next station having heat issues, that isn't the only issue holding me back. The issue that dawned on me was all those limited edition systems I missed out on over all these years. 

I held out on buying a new xbox system while waiting for the special edition Star Wars console. I wanted those true geek sounds to delight my company. But when it was delayed and I needed a new xbox to play Battlefield three which was released in October that year. I caved and ended up buy the regular black box.
Then it missed the holiday purchase of the xbox kinect I bought as well. I've had four xbox 360's over the live of this system, sadly the elite was the closest I came to cooler paint job. 

Why do these console makers push the Limited Edition models so far back into the life of the system. Well, I know they want to sell those regular units and hope to get you buy that limited edition too. Well this time I am waiting for the later version, and hopefully a unique custom limited edition. Maybe they will be a little smart and have some available launch date with some launch title art.   

Bottom Line: I love my custom PC, but i'll have to wait to enjoy a custom next box.


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Monday, April 1, 2013

In the past my favorite game play experiences have usually occurred during the Golden hour of gaming. It's the last year that a console will be receiving those anticipated titles. Before major developers switch their full attention to the Next Cycle. From this hour we see systems push it to the limit, developers push the envelope, and consumers push and shove to get their hands on these great works of art. San Andres PS2 made me not even care about xbox 360 for quite sometime. Wasn't until I played Gears of War and Crackdown that I made the switch after the 360's launch. So hopefully after this golden hour the console giants can really make an impression outside of their E3 hype.  

With plenty of sequels in their to either finalize some gamers experiences or solidify them as fans for the next iteration. We do see that bold touch of new intellectual properties. Which I do believe are the ones that have fans salivating for a taste. I'll even mention Naughty Dogs Last of Us title as a new i.p. With this onslaught of coveted titles I just hope the next box and PS4 don't lean on these titles as their launch rosters. It would be very easy for them to say hey guys play all those just released titles on our new systems and we got you next year. From looking at this list of heavy hitters backwards compatibility is going to be a major decision in bout between systems this year.

The only negative thing about the golden hour of gaming is next gen. With the great graphics and gameplay you get out of the golden hour. Comes a greater expectation for the next gen to blow that experience out of the water. Which can be hard to do when facing these caliber of project. Sure fancy visuals added on to these games can appease some gamers. While gameplay carnivores will shred past the graphics and ask where is the next generation gameplay, physics and mechanics? With the claims of advancements in developers tool such as Epic's Unreal 4, Dice's Frostbite 3, and Squares' Luminous. Gamer should see an increase in the games under the hood performance right off the gate. Rather than the we are just getting started speech found right after game launch titles crash and burn. 

Metal Gear 5


Battlefield 4

Assassin Creed 4

Bioshock Infinite

Watch Dogs

Project Cars

Injustice Gods Among Us

Bottom Line: If you are not purchasing most of these titles...then you must be a Nintendo WiiU owner.
(fact: only two of these games have been confirmed for the WiiU)