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

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Issue : People : Trepidity


RE7: Biohazard is a game about Horror.

I'll be out in the field on my video game Grizzlemania when these young turks approach me with game to pitch and if I have time to catch I will do so. They have a video game they want to make, a product they want to get exposure for, an idea they want to bring to life, or an event they want to throw. That type of thing.

They confer this Morgan Freeman meets Morpheus gravitas upon me based on this thing of words and gifs and music, where I currently work, who I know, and where I have been on my gaming journey. It is a thing which I absolutely fucking hate.

There are slivers of time during these interactions where I am desperate to say:

"Look, Ash Ketchum. Don't believe the hype. I am a stone cold moron who swims in the deep end of the autism spectrum. I stumbled ass-backward into my current life and couldn't tell you how I did it if I had NFL replay video magic.

To the gaming industry en masse I am basically Mephistopheles. Harbinger of outliers, scary music, and discomforting thoughts. Most C-level gaming executives would gladly choke me to death with a Playstation 2 controller if they could get away with it. I have no life, I run on vengeance, IPA, and Top Ramen. Go into Biochem, this industry is the fuckin' jungle and you walking around like a smiling Tapir on vacation."

But instead of saying all of that I remember it's not about my reality, it's about their dream, and my job (edit: My choice) is to help their dream become a reality, not to impose my version of reality upon them, or to talk them out of the reality they see in their brain bucket.

I have a mother and father who bought me subscriptions to Game Informer and EGM when no one else in the house was gonna read them and they personally couldn't care less about gaming but could tell I do. Bosses who took a chance on me when they had no practical right too. Mentors who go to bat for ideas of mine that from most perspectives are just insane, they are, I don't know how else to say it. They do all this for me and here I am. So I do all of that for whoever is brave enough to chase their vision, cause I know how incredibly hard that swim is against the deluge of people telling you who you are not and what you can't do.

After I listen to them, I go step by step into how they could make that thing they just said happen. How long it would take, manpower requirements, how much it would cost, and the darkest caveat; to be aware that no one is going to help them more then they help themselves. The abject terror in the eyes on these kids. I have no idea what some of them expected but wow, reality bites. The kids that truly scare me though are the ones that look me dead in the eye, nod, and reply, "Psh, that's it?" But no matter the reaction the last bit of advice I give them is always the same. It gets easier.

I wish I woulda bet information. Strike Greenlight down it will grow more powerful than you could possibly imagine. Also JOBZ.

The Protoculture Mixtape : Issue : Games : Consternation

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Issue : Games : Clique


Overwatch is a game about entitlement.

My DM's have turned into a slip and slide of people asking why they haven't seen me playing Overwatch as obsessively as in previous day/night cycles. It's a pretty simple reason, the reason most people stop doing things that they were previously doing. The game became boring.

Not boring in the systemic sense, the game is undeniably fun to play, although the systemic portion of the game is a contributor. Imagine you decided you were going to get really good at baseball and worked hard every day to learn the rules of the game. You figured out the dimensions of the field, what each player does, chose a position and learned every action and nuance of your role on the team.

Then you show up to play a competitive match in the game you took all that time to learn and it's completely different. The field is different, the players are different, the "feel" of the whole game is different. Some of the changes you can tell are for the better, some are kind of confusing, but the net-net is you have a day job and don't have the time to relearn the game every time it decides to shuffle the deck. It's a helpless state that implies gravity could change at a whim, so why even try.

Then there is the nugget of my withdrawal, which is... Ok, here's the thing. I come from an arcade competitive gaming culture. In the arcade, you physically saw the person you played against, there was smack talked, personal nemeses, times where you knew certain people were going to be at certain locations, so if you wanted to get better you knew to be there at that time; both to get better and to get your name out there so you would get invited to places where players of note were playing and receive insider information and strategy. Networking.

When the switch over to majority online play happened, a great deal of that culture died, but a savior of online culture was when a game allowed for personal servers. Hopping into a community server is like swinging open the doors in your favorite dive bar.

As of yet there is none of that in Overwatch. Yes there are amateur and professional circuits, robust Youtube and Twitch communities, and all types of other ancillary community platforming. But for a person starting out with just the base game you go in there solo-queue or teamed up with people you already know, you jump into a server full of random souls, accumulate numbers, which allow points, you use those points to purchase doo-dads that have no effect on gameplay, then you do that again and again. The higher the number, the higher your worth.

So there is the reason, I'm not going to continue playing Overwatch just because everyone seems to be playing it. I've been playing games for almost 3 decades and could give a shit less about keeping up with the Jonses. To continue playing a game it needs to tell me a story or I need to know who I am playing against. I'll form my own hierarchy of needs from there. OW is cool, I just don't think it's done yet.

I hope information is rooting for the Patriots so I have reason to hate you for more than your foolish Sagat. Also JERBZ.

* Edit: And of course 2 days after I write this Kaplan introduces server browsers. Cute.

The Protoculture Mixtape : Issue : People :  Savior-Faire

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