The Hatred Controversy

Hatred Game

I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not to write about this whole thing and finally decided that it would be a good exercise if nothing else. The disclaimer is simple: this isn’t based on research, it’s based on my readings of other articles and my personal experiences, thoughts, and philosophies. It’s opinion, not fact. So without further ado, here we go.

The Basics

If you haven’t heard there is a game being developed called Hatred wherein the sole objective is to go on a murdering rampage. The game developers at Destructive Creations, based in Poland, say they are going against the “political correctness” trend in games. They’ve no doubt achieved their goal of pure shock value by the response of even major media outlets taking a look at the game.

The Arguments

I’m sure there are many different arguments taking place here but the most common outcry from the community seems to be that this:

Gamers fear the (very likely) scenario where this game will be held up by the proverbial Man to say gaming is BAD for you.

I can fully understand this sentiment. Games like Postal, GTA, etc that already allow the “killing of innocents” are already held up as an example of the ‘bad influence’ gaming has – usually on the young easily manipulated minds of children. And it’s always been their habit to completely disregard labeling games as Mature or Adults Only.

But in that vein there are those complaining that it shouldn’t be a comparison because in those games mass murder isn’t the purpose of the game – there are other things to do, it’s just an option. And then there are those who are concerned with the type of person capable of not only playing the game with it’s graphic depictions of violence but to enjoy playing the game enough to do more than a trial run through.

Thus far, every argument has a point and I can agree to some extent with the concern shown. What I find interesting is people’s tightrope walking with regards to censorship. So far nothing I’ve read has outright called for it, but the majority have made it very clear that they find the content extremely disturbing and some can’t even watch the trailer through to the end.

My Perspective

First I’d like to point out that Poland has one of the lowest murder crime rates of all the “first world” countries of planet Earth. I find it important to point out because of what I’m about to say. We find this game particularly disturbing in the US because of our culture and history. We have regular mass shootings, bombings, sexual assaults, etc. We’re constantly bombarded with these things that it’s pretty much impossible for anyone not living under a rock to tie the visual stimuli of the game to specific instances of this occurring in the real world. And not some far away war torn country to which we have no relation but our own back yard. Worse yet it’s not under the guise of some gang related turf war or “good guys” vs “bad guys,” but the very real scenario of one sick individual taking out their rage on whoever and whatever crosses their path. A lot of people have a very hard time reconciling that with their view of the world.

We have become so used to sugar coating things by giving it some other attachment where we can fully detach ourselves from the scenario. It’s a lot more difficult to do so when you’re playing a singular individual with no heavy philosophy or some over reaching ethos to attach your actions to, only a deep human emotion that, like it or not, many of us are capable of entertaining and feeling at some level. And that makes most very uncomfortable. We don’t like to sympathize with the “bad guy.”

To address the fear of this being a burden on gamers – I think the problem goes much deeper than a handful of games. It’s, again, a cultural perspective that it’s okay to scapegoat. It’s acceptable to say this game, this music, these people, etc etc made me do it. Instead of forcing people to always take responsibility for their personal actions, we try to divvy out the blame and lighten the load. It’s no longer the fault of the person, or the fault of the parents, or hell even the fault of society – it’s the fault of an inanimate object, game, lyric, movie or whatever else they want to blame for giving them the idea.

While the idea may not have occurred to you to go on a murdering rampage before playing game X, it certainly didn’t occur to you that it was a socially acceptable thing to do without some influence. And the likelihood that a game gave you the idea before all the mass media coverage of the latest mass murder spree is just absurd.

There is no shortage of gory material out there. Music, games, movies, and like I keep saying – the news – have more than enough examples of acts you COULD do that are wrong and most would agree is socially unacceptable behavior. But we still allow those things to exist, because they shouldn’t be help accountable for people’s actions in the real world. We just slap labels on them saying what audience we think can handle that material without taking it literally and going out and mimicking it in the world.

My Verdict

Alright so let’s get personal. When I was a kid – like very early elementary school age – I fell in love with horror movies, the Exorcist and Nightmare on Elm Street to be specific. When I hit my teens I discovered those sites that collect the morbid news and photos from around the world and repost them, not sparing any of the gory details.

I bother mentioning this because I feel it’s necessary to see why I have a very clear detachment of reality and fiction, as well as the realistic outlook of what actually happens in the world around us. It’s never occurred to me to actually copy the actions or scenes I’ve seen in either fictional or real life content – though I can’t say I’ve not let my mind wander and fantasize about just stabbing a very annoying customer in the neck with a pencil, heh. It’s with that in mind that I don’t feel I’d have any problem giving the Hatred game a go. Maybe that says something bad about me to some people, to which I simply shrug. I’ve never really cared what people think.

I think the game brings up some very interesting questions about how we react, where we think to draw the line, what we feel we could stomach or even enjoy, and what we think about people in different lights. I think I would tire of the game because of it’s singular purpose before I could no longer stomach the pleading of innocent souls. In fact if you’ve ever seen me play games you know it’s more likely I’d start making fun of the pleading. It’s just something I do. But more than anything I’d do what I always do and explore every nook and cranny of each of the many maps they’re saying will be available to rampage in.

Many others have mentioned that they game is stupid just because it has a singular purpose, but hey I think that Goat Simulator is absolutely retarded (albeit hilarious to watch with the right caster) and to me this falls in the same vein of absolutely pointless yet entertaining in the short term. One of those games you pick up, play till you’re bored, and then set aside.

Maybe I’ll use this game as a way to vent after people troll me in League. Who knows. And that’s assuming the price is agreeable – cause I’m not paying anything past 15 bucks for something so simple without giving me a reason to come back and play it 50 times. I guess time will tell huh?

End Notes

I hope this hasn’t been as.. discombobulated as it seemed in my head while writing. I’m rusty, that’s for sure, and I’m sure I didn’t go into as much detail as I really want to on many things. But at the completion this article is ~1440 words long and I didn’t want it to be triple even quadruple that number. This isn’t a bloody dissertation after all. So comment if you want me to elaborate or discuss further.

So what’s your take on the game? How bout the arguments flying around in reaction to it?

Post-PAX Shenanigans

I’ve been back in Japan from PAX for a few days and finally have some time (and mental capacity) to sit down and write. My flight to PAX was pretty uneventful, slept on and off and luckily it was straight through so it only took 8.5 hours and we landed a bit early. It was however pretty harsh on my internal clock since I left Tokyo at 4 p.m. and when I arrived in Seattle it was 9 a.m. that morning…. So yeah, longest Tuesday I’ve ever had in my life lol. I was able to get my shuttle and to the house with no issues or traffic and ended up having to kill a few hours before being allowed to check in to the house. I was able to drop off my bags though so I didn’t have to lug anything around with me and there was a Starbucks and Walgreens right up the street which was just what I needed. Picked up the toiletries and some snacks I needed then had lunch and a drink while sapping up the free wifi at Starbucks till the house was ready.

The house was nice – although the first two days there was rather warm. Because there is usually nice weather and the house has lots of windows it doesn’t have AC so it was a little uncomfortable trying to sleep that first night but the second everything cooled off and was pleasant the rest of the trip. The bed was very comfy and there was plenty of room for everyone. Only issue really was the retarded showerhead which really just drooled on you instead of actually spraying lol. But other than that all was well.

I took it pretty easy the first few days, just getting used to the time difference and relaxing – this was a vacation after all! Much needed after the months of stressful work too. Helped Gamur-chan put together his new computer one of the days which was fun and reaffirmed the existence of my seemingly infinite patience. And on Thursday evening I got to do a little shopping at Target, meet up with Waffle n crew and then head over to party at Kasper’s house with GQ, Eddie, and all sorts of other awesome. Which by the by, I still can’t believe they spent $1200 on booze n snacks lol.

Friday we kicked off PAX with a breakfast down in Pikes place at Bacco & Chan. Absolutely delicious! I had corned beef hash and I really wish I could have eaten everything in that bowl but then the guys would’ve had to wheelbarrow me through the expo hall rofl. And I certainly didn’t want to carry it around all day with me so unfortunately I had to just stuff in all I could and say bye bye to the rest. But man was it goooood. So then we had to truck up to the expo hall and start lookin around.

The problem with being a streamer is that you spend a lot of time at the Twitch booth lol Especially so for the bigger names. I mean, it’s a great place and all but there is a lot of other content to go and see in the expo hall. Personally I’m still getting used to going to cons and I don’t tend to play many games – I’m more of a gawker I guess. Plus this time there were the NA Regional matches for League of Legends,  so that is where I spent the majority of my time each day.  Luckily I had an awesome buddy who saved me seats <3 (Thanks again Rochelle! Was awesome shouting at games with you!)

I did get to play Project Diva F2nd … again. lol I  had already played it during it’s debut at Tokyo Game Show 2013 but I’m seriously addicted to that game, not even funny. It’s pretty much the sole reason I NEED a PS Vita – which will be my xmas present this year. I watched a lot of other games but the only one I actually queued to play was TOME. I’d been watching some other streamers play it prior to PAX and had intentions of playing it anyway so it was pretty no brainer to queue up and give it a go. I really do like the game so far but I’ll leave the praise and review for another post later on.

Besides that the majority of my time was spent hanging out with people. That’s what most of us streamers do at cons – network. Luckily I’m not a big streamer so I don’t have to deal with the whole fans stopping me all the time (maybe some day) so I was able to just tag along with other people and just have lots of good conversations. Really enjoyed dinner out with the chaos crew, getting to chat with Headwound_ and G33z3r_hd while eating awesome food. Finally got to meet my buddy Justin after years of talking online and being unable to find him until the very last day! And of course spending time before and after the con days with the “regulars” – people like GQ, Eddie, Acou, Wolv, etc. <3

Overall  it was a productive trip, made several new connections and got my feet wet some more. Got to meet people I talk to online all the time in person finally which was awesome and got to get away from work and do stuff I love instead which was a much needed reboot. I’m looking forward to next year and getting to share it with the hubby 🙂

21 Gaming Q’s

So, I saw Vero post this over at her blog and it comes from Jaslya of Cannot Be Tamed. If you fill it out too be sure to let me know! 🙂

 

1. When did you start playing video games?

Pretty sure I got my hands on one before kindergarten 😛
2. What is the first game you remember playing?

Ms. Pacman and a racing game on Atari that I can’t remember the name of.
3. PC or Console?

In general – PC. But I enjoy my Sony & Nintendo consoles <3
4. XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?

Depends on the game. Also I hate the Xbox, always have and probably always will.
5. What’s the best game you’ve ever played?

That’s a hard one. I think it’s a little unfair to choose just one above all of the genres. Based on my -loyalty- to the games I have to say League of Legends and my MUDs. But there’s so many games adore that I can’t just pick the BEST one.
6. What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?

Ehhh…. Honestly nothing comes to mind. I don’t make a habit of playing games that I know are shit 😛
7. Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.

I’m not very big into Call of Duty. The first one I ever bought was Ghosts, though I’d played all the previous ones, and I just couldn’t get into it -shrug-
8. Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.

Again, can’t really think of one.
9. What are your favourite game genres?

I don’t have a favorite genre really – if it has a good story or interesting mechanics, I’m in. If I had to choose one I guess I’d have to go with RPGs.
10. Who is your favourite game protagonist?

Probably seems really random but Sam & Max
11. Describe your perfect video game.

Has a great story with multiple possible paths and interesting mechanics. Like I said up on #9 pretty much.
12. What video game character do have you have a crush on?

Vincent lol
13. What game has the best music?

OSU! I mean, come on. It’s a game all about rhythm with music and has all sorts of tracks to play so yeah.
14. Most memorable moment in a game:

Obviously I don’t have an answer because nothing is coming to mind. Fail.
15. Scariest moment in a game:

I don’t get scared by games… the closest anything has come is The Long Dark recently having a freakin wolf jump out of a hallway unexpectedly at me. And even then I was more startled by the noise than scared by any content (kinda like movies).
16. Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:

Any time you die and have to start all over again…. And I mean ALL OVER again.
17. What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?

IGN, Screw Attack, and then a bunch of low vision sites run by friends.
18. What’s the last game you finished?

Haunt the House: Terrortown
19. What future releases are you most excited about?

Really looking forward to the full release of The Long Dark, getting my hands on Project Diva F2, and of course SMASH BROS 😉
20. Do you identify as a gamer?

Yes, always have and probably always will.
21. Why do you play video games?

I enjoy the creative outlet it provides, the community it brings me, and its a great way to relieve stress.

Streaming Goals & Schedule

It’s been a rocky start back to streaming but so far so good. I did an 8 hour stream last Monday + a 6 hour one this Monday and a couple hours in between. While viewers are low, those that do stop by are great quality. Enjoyed having some of the other alpha guys from The Long Dark community present yesterday and glad to see the developers being supportive of everyone live streaming and making YouTube videos of the game.

So the plan is to adjust my schedule as follows:

 

Mondays – long stream from around 8 a.m. to  4 p.m.

Tuesday & Thursday – in general, off days

Wednesdays & Fridays – short streams from 7:30 – 9:15/9:30 a.m.

Saturdays & Sundays – random times if schedule allows

 

All times are my local time, so Japan Standard Time (JST). Stateside it’s the night before – so my Monday streams are actually Sunday evenings stateside. I’ve decided to just call Tue/Thu off days with surprise streams because it looks like a lot of my web meetings will be pulling me into work early on one of those days several weeks a month and if not it’s good my but pregnant butt to sleep in 😛 I get better sleep during the 6 – 10 a.m. time frame naturally so when I get the chance to sleep in, I take it!

I have a list of games I want to play and a backlog of footage I need to take a knife to and upload to YouTube so I’m hoping you all will see a lot more coming from me soon. The goal is to start having regular updates on the YT channel and have a very consistent schedule with at least 10 hours of new live stream footage every week. I’m hoping that everyone will start joining me again so we can get to having an active chat, doing viewer games, and in general just having a great time with each other!

Long term the goal is to increase my streaming time to every day – which will be more attainable after work settles down. I also have a lot of little projects to do with the site, the stream, and all the social media outlets (more on that later). Ideally I want to be partnered by the end of the year. I’ve seen people take years and I’ve seen people take just a few weeks to get to that point so I think 4 months is quick but attainable goal that’ll push me to not sit on it and instead work for it.

As a side-note, I only plan to take a short break from streaming once I finally pop in January – and my short I mean max a couple weeks. Then we’ll start the uber adorable spawn & me streams 😛

New Beginnings

I’ve been rather MiA lately when it comes to streaming. Mostly because I’ve simply been too tired to do so between being pregnant, working, and making sure I get family time in. But GOOD NEWS! I’m soon swapping schedules to work less hours so I will be streaming in the mornings – evening time stateside – every weekday starting next Monday (Sunday in the states). Mondays will be longer streams because I’m actually off that day but Tue – Fri will be probably 2 hour streams on average. Weekends will continue to be sporadic depending on what I’m doing offline.

I’m excited about getting back to streaming and have a lot of different games to play. If you have any requests be sure to drop a comment 🙂 See you when I go live!

LB: A Look at Hearthstone + Mini Update

For the full article, head over to Geek Inside Us!

I’ve been having fun playing Hearthstone and decided to post the article over at GIU which I contribute gaming/tech related articles to. In the interest of keeping content unique on all the sites, I will only be doing links to the original locations of articles rather than reposting them! So any post that you see with the precursor “LB:” means that the article is on another site. Since I contribute to other sites, I’d love for everyone to follow along and give them their support just like you do here at NTMM! <3

In other news, I’ve not been able to play very many games recently now have I had any time to really sit around and write. Between work still being hectic, holidays, internship applications, school, and trying to spend more time with the hubster – I just haven’t had much time or energy for my other projects. Things are calming down a little though and I’ve started having time free up so there will be some more articles coming soon! Particularly a review for Dawngate should be posted some time this weekend and perhaps some other articles 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

Papa & Yo: Review of an Emotional Experience

Plot
You are Yo, and having run away mentally from your alcoholic and abusive father, you find yourself in a topsy-turvy world lined with chalk drawn puzzles. A girl is there to guide you along your way after you get the hang of using the chalk gizmos and triggers, and provides half of the chilling story. As you progress, several cut scenes unfold to reveal painful memories Yo has tried to suppress of his father, the monster. Ultimately, you are trying to lead the monster to the shaman, who the girl tells you can cure the monster and end the suffering. The plot itself isn’t complicated, and shows a greater intent to impart a message or experience than challenge the player’s gaming skills.

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Gameplay
Third person view adventure game with platforming and puzzle solving on a relatively low difficulty. It’s impossible to die, and unless you’re looking for a hat, there is no way I’ve found to actually screw up the level to where you cannot complete it. Levels are split into 5 acts with varying amounts of chapters in each, and autosave is set to the beginning of each chapter (puzzle), meaning you can quit at any time, and return to any chapter entered or completed. This comes in handy after beating the game for the first time, if you decide to complete all Steam achievements. The game itself shouldn’t take an adult more than a few hours to complete, and if you’re clever and check the achievements prior to playing the game, you find you can attain all but one before finishing the game on the first run. If you do find yourself stuck, there are hint boxes placed at the beginning of each puzzle, and again if a new prop is introduced such as the rotten blue fruit.

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The puzzles themselves in each chapter are not difficult, and seem aimed at a young audience. A point driven home by the looming fear of the monster, who when fed a frog, will turn into a fiery rampaging version of itself until you give it a rotten fruit. While in this mode, if the monster catches you in his maw he will shake you to and fro viciously before throwing you a dozen yards away, but you’ll get right back up and can continue on with the puzzle. The sky will also turn dark, and even as an adult, you can really feel the tension and a touch of fear. This only happens with timing based puzzles though, with the remainder of the monster’s role being chasing and devouring lemons, or passing out, allowing the use of his belly as a trampoline. Along the way, you receive one of your favorite toys as a companion, who grants you the ability to double jump with thrusters, and to throw him incredible distances to activate normally unreachable puzzle triggers.

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Environment
The world is beautiful and calming with South American folk music encouraging the wanderlust sensation. The houses and streets are that moray of colors seen in so many cities and towns of the southern continent. Aside from the lemons and soccer balls littered throughout the puzzles, there isn’t too much to interact without outside the puzzles mechanisms, and exploration early on will only give you hints as to where to find the bonus hats not spawned until after the game’s first completion. However, the generally peaceful and vibrant atmosphere quickly becomes a hellish nightmare when the monster’s furry is unleashed. The sky darkens and reddens as if the whole world was burning along with him. Possibly the most tense moments are while at the large field puzzle with a central altar. The monster is stuck in the many ruts around the altar, which you must drop into and time your reactions with certain triggers with a hair’s breadth of wiggle room, and several times at that. Though I knew I couldn’t die, the feeling of a great beast aflame breathing down my neck while I run frantically was a definite motivator and emotional rush.

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Conclusion
Though lacking any real replay ability, the game is excellently built. Only issues were a strong lag felt as you drew near to the next chapter, especially if the area was visible behind the sparse barricades leading out of the current puzzle, or even the ones leading back to the last. But, the environment and message of this game were obviously paramount, and in those regards I call it a success. The story, even concerning adult issues witnessed by a child, is tastefully told so the young will feel the grips of fear without being terrified. The difficultly is much the same, such that a non-gamer could easily pick up the controls and not become frustrated at jumps just too far needing perfect timing, or puzzles only the experienced Portal player could decode. In total, a full emotional experience that delights and scares with the wonders of youthful imagination and terrors of a child beneath an abusive parent.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Impromptu Absence

Oh man, where did a month disappear to? Unfortunately some things have come up that have kept me from the site completely. In fact, this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and write without just feeling completely exhausted or overwhelmed by other things (granted, I’m still very tired and still got tons of things to do). But anyhow, I’M ALIVE and I’m here!

So what’s been going on in my corner of the gaming world? I’m loving the new PS4 – which I was able to get on launch day and will be writing more in depth about soon, I’ve not been able to play much League of Legends lately, but I have been able to play some Dawngate beta! I’ve also picked Don’t Starve back up, beat Contrast on the PS4, played some Call of Duty Ghosts, got into The Secret World, played a little of the Elder Scrolls Online during beta weekend, and just got Escape Plan loaded onto the PS4.

On top of all that I’ve got a ton of games on Steam to get into and write about. So! There is no shortage of things to come. Speaking of things to come, we’ll soon be seeing articles from other individuals. First one is going to be a review of the game Papa & Yo by Lifes Harlequin 🙂 Be on the lookout for more from him as he gets his feet wet with this whole, game writing thing.

 

For some recent content, go check out my YouTube for a Group Unboxing of the November 2013 Loot Crate! Rated M for [im]mature content 😉

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Hinterland Games: The Long Dark

If you haven’t heard, there is a new game company on the scene dubbed Hinterland Games. This company, based out of Canada, is comprised of industry veterans who have worked on such games as Far Cry 3, the Saints Row series,  Neverwinter Nights, God of War, and League of Legends.

Hinterland’s games are imbued with a sense of social awareness and aspire to provide immersive, sophisticated worlds to anyone seeking a mature gaming experience.

As with the studio, Hinterland’s games exist to pioneer original experiences from the fringe of the mainstream games industry. Join us on our journey.

Their flagship game called “The Long Dark” was funded by a Kickstarter Campaign, which is how I personally found out about this awesome game and company. I’m a huge fan of Kickstarter and have backed several projects that I’m really interested in. TLD is the first game I’ve backed however and so far, I have to say I am not even a smidgen disappointed in the execution of this company. Every step along the way I’ve gotten wonderfully written, in depth updates from the creators and have even already started getting involved with their new forums, as well as my perks from being a backer.

Before I get into the game details, I’d like to give the team at Hinterland a huge shout-out for being one of the best when it comes to social media and customer interaction. A lot of companies only react if you post something negative or only retweet something that toots their own horn – but the people I’ve interacted with via Twitter and the forums have been amazingly responsive and fun to talk to! This sort of thing really inspires loyalty to the company before they’ve even released a playable version of the game.

 

Now on to the good stuff… let’s start with the first gameplay footage of The Long Dark!

Excited yet? When most people think about survival games these days they think one thing: Zombies! Now, I like zombies but because of this I’ve never really been a fan of the survival genre. TLD takes a different approach to this type of game by returning the world to a land where Mother Nature has taken over again and technology has crashed. We’re now in a place where food and water is scarce, shelter from the elements is needed, and we’ve been placed back into the food chain. How long will you last as you wander the vast wilderness?

Be on the lookout for potential supply caches, all the while using survival skills to overcome hazards introduced by harsh weather, wildlife, lack of food and water, and other survivors.

TLD promises to test your willpower and make you think by introducing scenarios that will test how far you will go to survive. You will play in first-person as a bush pilot Will Mackenzie and have the option to survive by brains or bronze. Details say the game will have both story and sandbox modes.

The Long Dark offers both a large open-world simulation space that encourages freeform gameplay, as well as a story-driven mission structure that draws players deeper into the fiction of the game and world. This structure means that whether you have 15 minutes or 1.5 hours to play, you can jump in and make meaningful progress towards an in-game goal.

Best of all is their desire to focus on memorable story lines, characters, and places. Too often in games people like myself are left wanting more, wanting that extra bit of fun dialog, that extra crumb to lead us in a new direction, and content that actually makes us think and reevaluate as we play. Don’t get me wrong – mindless shooters and other like games are great but they’ll never match up to games I give nights of thought and puzzling to.

For more information about the gameplay and progress, please check out the official site here: Into The Long Dark. And if you’re really loving the idea you can help the game reach some stretch goals and become a backer! Don’t forget to join us to discuss the game and get your input heard @ Hinterland Game’s Forums