Default Tester

Help people get better with video games. Donate to Child's Play for karma Achievements.

Join Default Tester and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship. Would you like to know more?

Great question. If I only had one video I could play it would be this.

Oh crap sorry! Extra Credits! Along with Heathcliff, I dedicate this story to the following people, in no particular order:

Ada Lovelace

Kurt Vonnegut

Bill Gates

Steve Jobs

Grace Hopper

Ray Kurzweil

Gabe Newell

Barack Obama

Michelle Obama

The Fam

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Games: Metal Gear

So there is this brother and sister team that have been putting out movies about video games on the internet for a while now.The brother is tall and skinny, his small frame producing a brick bearing slouch at all times. He wears slim rim glasses and his hair always looks abandoned even though its pretty short.

He sounds like a frustrated lover when trying to explain what a game is trying to say and why it is important that it tried. The main recipient the monologues is his sister, Who doesn't care if they have something to say or not, she only plays them for fun.

His sister has brunette hair that is sometimes long and other times short. Her face carries the look of a person that's constantly waiting to be surprised but rarely gets surprised. When she gets bored debating video games with him she passes the time by saying things she knows will make him mad, and if that fails she will either hunt him like wild game or attempt to kill him outright using the weapons and wearing the outfit of a character in the video game she fancies at the moment. This pisses her brother off because he wants her to take video games seriously.

The show takes place in their living room usually, sometimes in their bedrooms or their backyard. Most episodes begin with the sister sitting on this ratty looking recliner, staring absently at a point a little up and to the left of the camera, intently pressing buttons on a controller. Her brother walks in and asks what she is playing, and she tells him the name in a kiddy voice.

You barely ever see any video games during the show. Its mostly them talking about video games or acting out a scene cousin to the game the sister said she was playing. Its as if they would rather not force people to sit there and watch other people play a game that they could just as easily play themselves, and would rather spend time talking about something that they found interesting about the game .

The show might not even be about video games per se, maybe more so the show could be about the lives of people that have been playing games so long that the act of interacting with a platform is just an afterthought, in the way a lawyer with a new case spends months preparing briefs, interviewing witnesses, and discussing it in bars with colleagues knowing full well the actual trial may only take a couple of hours and wont be as interesting as they hoped it would be.

Sometimes the petty squabbles, setbacks, and pressures of a life dedicated to a polarizing single purpose  makes the lawyer laugh, or dealing with people that like the law for what it is and don't worry about its potential to be more makes him so pissed he puts a hole in a wall of his fancy office,but after all is said and done he celebrates everything about the life he chose and wants everybody to find something good in it even though he knows it might take a long time or never happen at all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Games: Level 5

Level 5 is a video game company based in Fukuoka, Japan run by president and CEO, Akihiro Hino. Level 5 focuses on traditional role playing games, but they also push the boundaries of JRPG's by integrating action, city building mechanics, and other ingredients fans would generally think incompatible with familiar role play functionality. Notable games from the company include, Dark Cloud, Rouge Galaxy, Jeanne d'Arc, and the Professor Layton series.

In Dark Cloud a being called the Dark Genie decided to destroy the world because he didn't like it the way it was. He smashed the buildings and killed people, then decided not to clean up after himself. A young boy named Toan lived through this rapture. He saw the rubble and the dead stuff and everything else and wanted to do something about it but didn't know how, until someone called the fairy king gave him a magical stone imbued with the power to take broken stuff and make it like it was before it was broken.

Most games that share the playpen called Traditional RPG's approatch cataclismic events from the front. The player and characters in the story are generally set at defcon oarnge at all times. A looming evil is always preparing something, placing the final toutches on its masterpeice, laughing at the starry eyed fools that would challenge the inevitable. But what if it already happened?  Do the people just give up, do they sit on the rubble that was their home and pine for better days, do they pack up and move? Level 5 began their title during the epilogue. There was no hero to stop the Dark Genies plans from playing out, or maybe he was just late.

Each subsequent title from Level 5 introduces itself as if it had never seen another of its species. Akihiro Hino resembles his children in that unlike the CEO's of most companies he is involved in every aspect his products creation.

While RPG Japan frets over its stumbling foundation, worried that disembodied serial killers now hold attention over mute effeminate heroes with silly haircuts and princesses that fell down and forgot everything, Hino sits you down and tells you about this dream he had where sky pirates fly free, or about that dowdy man in a big hat that's really good at figuring out puzzles. Hino uses every mechanic in the design book to not only show you what he saw but allow you to experience what it felt like to be there.

His games tell a story, which should be said of all games, but would be a damn lie if spoken. They serve as the video game equivalent of a favorite dive bar, a place where the jaded and cynical of our industry go for a cold drink, a hot meal, and to have a close friend weave us a yarn that reminds us why we do this crappy thing for kids.

Level 5 is going to pass on the Tokyo Game show this year,  opting instead to throw their own party called "Level-5 World." Although much like a good guy in life they will still make a few titles available to their friends that attend the big convention. Level 5 recently opened an American office and plan to release 5 new games in the future.

Blog Archive