Tag Archives: games

I am an explorer!

So I spent 30 minutes collecting outstanding screen shots in Far Cry 3, including a really cool lost abandoned hotel section that you aren’t supposed to interact with… and then I alt-tabbed and figured out I was doing it wrong and it only saved the first capture. SADFACE. I could write on how this is an interface fail… or install Camtasia… or be a productive citizen/PhD student and not play more computer games.

Anyway I was going to explain how it’s a really amazing looking game and how I wonder if money could be made just creating really impressive-looking fantasy landscapes, minus the violence (Tom Fairbanksonian). This abandoned hotel I found was probably for a level or section that they removed or never finished, but you can wing-suit (yes, you get one of those!) or hang-glide on top of it and find yourself floating in mid-air on top of holes in the roof or balconies. It’s just a glitch, but I found it refreshing to be able to discover something I wasn’t supposed to in a game – often these days they’re so scripted and controlled that sort of thing is really hard to do, usually the kind of activity saved for people who do nothing but mess around in games all day.

SO since I don’t have my own pictures for you I’ve just included some taken by others below. Cheers!

PS – this game teaches you to do a lot of drugs, but if you have sex with the lady who wants you to cheat on/kill your GF you die, so… MORALZ!!

PPS – I played a lot of this game as my dad built furniture watching the Rambo trilogy, and, I must say, this game is much better than those movies in all ways

Back to Gender and Videogames

Figured it’s about time to score another feminist gamer post. I’ve often appreciated MovieBob’s strong statements on body types in gaming, and so when another video blogger on the Escapist had one I thought I’d throw in.

Jimquisition is an admittedly awkward guy, especially compared to Yahtzee or Bob, but really this particular site is all about the nerdery, so I happily give him props for things like his complaints against absurd DRM. His latest, however, left me in a bit of a tangle:

I mean, he’s right, we should have more female characters represented in games like this. But what I’m sure he knows is that there’s a cultural dimension beyond production costs and hit boxes. I’d like to believe I’m a pretty level-headed feminist, but if you showed me a video of a woman getting punched in the face and then a man getting smacked in the very same manner – all context suspended – I’d probably feel worse about the woman. I know that’s a potentially sexist reaction, but I think it probably ports to games – our fantasies get busted up if we see women getting shot, cut and blown up in games. I already think it’s quite unfortunate we’re so immune to fantasy violence, I’m not sure that I want us to be immune to fantasy violence against women. And, likely, Jimquisition would agree, given his stance against rape in fantasy games and his identification of women as simultaneously sexualized and brutalized in games.

I also worry that the addition of female body types risks what Professor Lisa Nakamura posited as identity tourism. Given that many (read: most) women are turned off by the gore and sheer aggression present in many FPS games I think we’d be looking at a lot more guys playing female models. This might not be a problem, necessarily, but if these guys start to fulfill sexist stereotypes in the women they play (see Lori Kendall’s statement in Hanging Out in the Virtual Pub… or just take a look at the play guides for Janna in League of Legends, the biggest online game these days) then we risk worsening the situation.

So what’s my opinion? Well, I think we should have more female body types in games, but please, could we work on toning back the violence? These spoiled 14 year old boys immersed in Call of Duty end up as engineering students forced to take my classes and have no idea how to have empathy for other human beings. It’s hard work repairing them – they don’t really like listening to a “pussy” like me when they’re too busy “raping” their math exams. I’m not saying the violence in videogames is directly linked to sexism, I just find the hyper-competitive survival-of-the-fittest ultra-aggressive types feast on that ish.

Or, at least, often that’s my perception. Happy Monday all!

Whale hunting… err… researching game

“Whale numbers seem to be decreasing in this area. We need to kill more whales to determine the cause of this decrease.”

That’s the kind of ironic humor that laces “Harpooned”:http://harpooned.org/, the Japanese Cetacean Research Simulator. Playing off of the Japanese insistence that they are only doing innocent research on whales despite continued whale hunting, this game puts you in the captain’s seat of a Japanese “research vessel” collecting whale meat and avoiding protesters. This game is hilarious, and though most of it is covered in the “preview video”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR4KN6EfX6M embedded below, it’s well worth playing yourself.

Previously featured on Duenos:
* “Who the Hell is Pro-whaling?”:http://duenos.net/article/48/who-the-hell-is-pro-whaling

StarCraft 2 in the works

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StarCraft_professional_competition leagues will show you how special the first in the series was with thousands of devotees following and attending StarLeague competitions. It's international popularity ranks StarCraft as the most popular real-time strategy game in history and while there's not much information available yet about its sequel, what can be found is on the "official site":http://starcraft2.com.

First Nat'l Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament in Las Vegas

It’s American superficiality at its best in Las Vegas today as the World Rock, Paper, Scissors final tournament is being held. The prize? $50,000.

Oh yes, the same method you used to decide who had to go over the fence and get the baseball as a kid can earn you more than the annual income of most people in the industrialized world. There’s some very well-written commentary about the event in “The New York Times”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/14/us/14rock.html?ex=1336795200&en=4ced52bb8421bf8f&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss or you could just watch it on ESPN as it happens. Seriously.

For more about the world of Rock, Paper Scissors I found the “RPS Society website”:http://www.worldrps.com/ to be very helpful. They also have up to the minute tournament coverage on their main blog.

You'll want to know what's in that treasure box, too.

I recently discovered Treasure Box, a “beautiful little flash game”:http://www.senggeng.com/wada/compe/main.html, and I could not help become engrossed in simple, stylish puzzles that it offers. The premise is straightforward: guide the bright, red ball through the various quirks, twists, and turns of this bizarre world to a well-hidden and mysterious treasure box.


Climate Change Game

In honor of the British government taking on the strictest (but still not nearly strict enough) carbon regimen in Europe, I give you “this game.”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/hottopics/climatechange/climate_challenge/ In this better-than-average flash game, you the player are the president of the EU and you balance money, electricity, food, water, and carbon emissions against each other, guiding the Union into the future. Some options are very realistic (like tax breaks for domestic solar cells) and some are less so (like mag-lev trains) but overall this is a pretty good waste of time, and not a bad way to look at the decisions facing governments.

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Settlers of Catan to be ported to XBOX

One of my favorite board games is set to make its XBOX Live Arcade debut. For anyone who hasn’t played it, Settlers of Catan is absolutely the height of analog (board) games. Developed by game genius Klaus Teuber, SoC is simple enough to be fun for first-timers and complex enough to be enjoyed after playing it every day for weeks, something I may have done in college.

The seemingly infinite variety and enjoyability of the game comes from a dynamic hexagonal board that is literally different every time you play and its heavy reliance on player interaction. That’s why it will be perfect for XBOX Live Arcade, playing on a simple user interface and leaning on the ability to play ranked competition. This makes me want an XBOX 360 bad.

There’s an interview with the creative director of Big Huge games, the developer of Settlers of Catan for the Arcade. Find it “here”:http://www.joystiq.com/2007/02/22/off-the-grid-interviews-brian-reynolds-of-big-huge-games/ (thanks Mike)

Netflix for gamers, but it's all online

Gametap gives you unlimited access to a huge amount (yesterday it was 837) of old arcade, console, and computer games, all for a reasonable subscription fee of $6.95/month. Some of the better known titles on the menu are Street Fighter 2, Tony Hawk, and Sonic the Hedgehog as well as lesser-known but still great titles like Final Fight and brand new games like Sam and Max. It”s video gaming à la carte.

Colonization given a new lease on life

No this isn”t a comment on the reemergence of neo-colonial tendencies by American-based multinationals, it”s about a computer game. This isn”t any video game though, it”s my favorite and it has been for 11 years when I first installed it on my mom”s IBM x486. Colonization was developed by Sid Meier (now famous for the super-popular Civilization series) in 1994 as "an exercise in nation-building." The gameplay is unbeatable and it really is fun at all skill levels, from the lowly discoverer mode up to the completely impossible-to-win-you’re-going-to-die-in-two-turns viceroy.  If the level of detail and care a game”s Wikipedia page shows is any indication of popularity, Colonization must be well-loved.

The only problem with the game that I”ve seen so far is that you can”t play it anymore. No operating system will support it anymore without sucking RAM like nobody”s business. The version I have now will technically run in OS X if it goes to Classic Mode, but it always end up crashing and Classic Mode is nothing but a chore. Besides the fact, Classic Mode”s days are numbered. Windows users are stuck running it out of DOS and from what I understand that”s no more of a picnic than Classic. So what shall I do? My favorite game of all-time is bound for the rubbish heap and it seems like there is nothing I can do about it. Enter FreeCol. Apparently there are a lot of people out there who liked the original Colonization and they rebuilt it from the ground up on an open-source platform.

Though the graphics, text, and menus of FreeCol are all different from the original, qualitatively the game play is exactly the same. In fact, it may be better because the new version offers multiplayer capability, allowing Colonization enthusiasts from all over the world to connect and develop the New World together, or against each other.