stories by Edward Varnell

Developers need to support their released games on all platforms equally

If something goes wrong with a baby product, the company issues a recall. Food producers list the ingredients that might cause an allergic reaction. But video games, on the other hand, have turned out differently. While a game for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or PC receiving patches to fix bugs is nothing new, developers should know that it still needs to be a complete package.

My Morality Will (Not) Be inFamous

As a new PS3 owner, I decided to check out the game inFamous.  Seeing that a lot a of gamers view this game as a excellent title, I was intrigue to pick it up (and the fact I brought the 320GB inFamous 2 Bundle would help too).  I was so excited to enter this world that Sucker Punch had created and this moral RPG mechanic they installed in Cole’s powers.  As I got further in the game, I chose to be good and see where it would lead me.   It lead me to this conclusion: Morality never plays a part in video games.   To me, that’s disappointing.  Seeing that it really doesn’t define Cole, inFamous loses that comic flare and though its not a bad game (Rockstar can really learn from them to make a real open ended game right), the choices you make in the game doesn’t effect Cole or the player in any logical way.   See, morality cannot only be good and evil.  Morality doesn’t even have to be the focus point in games.  Morality needs to be one thing and one thing only.     Affecting the player personally.   What I mean is that it needs to affect the player’s logic and sensibility.  In the real world, we can say we have morals and ethics but majority of us do not follow them and when others see it and point it out to us, we get emotional and don’t want to be around those who correct us on our moral standards.    No one does that in inFamous. Superman encounters that when he questions himself of why he saves lives and fights for justice.  Batman encounters it with Joker and Wolverine deals with it everyday.   Cole doesn’t get called out about it and just because his appearance looks menacing, makes morality a afterthought.  It is more of a game play mechanic then actually having Cole emotionally damaging himself.  Guilt is different than taking a civilian life because that outcome only has Cole getting stronger when the player is evil or making their good status go down.   Just because something happen to Trish sister isn’t enough for me to believe that he’s trying to make things right with the city and Trish.  That’s clichéd storytelling.   To the player, you’re attracted to what you can do with Cole’s powers.  There isn’t anything in the game that makes your own morals reflect with Cole’s decisions.  There’s never a point in the game where Cole himself explains his morals and questions himself when he just jumped off a tall building and destroy a street with cars and the citizens.   Modern Warfare 2 somewhat get it right with the airport level but you can almost treat that as a Grand Theft Auto moment and don’t emotionally damage yourself.  Shooting or shocking civilians in a game doesn’t affect your morals but it should affect how you view yourself. That is why I really want to see where the new Rainbow Six go with its storyline and choices.  Fighting the people your suppose to protect has more of a impact on our morality.  It effects us psychologically, changes our ethics if we personally had to encounter issues like these, and it not will we emotionally damage ourselves in a good way, it would be the first game that really open our eyes and reflect what our true morals are.  No comic book fluff but the real definition of realism.   Fable, The Sims, and other so called CARs (Choice and Reward) games need to find a way to incorporate a better moral system instead of trying to make your character(s) make choices just to get a power. If I can drain stuff in Secret Of Mana, what difference is it in inFamous?   Have any of you felt that moral choices in games have a purpose or is it just a another RPG mechanic dressed up?

Nintendo Achievement System Needs To Emerge…Or Has It Already?

I hear a lot of people mention how Microsoft started out right with the introduction of Achievements and leaderboards and how awesome it was to get points for completing a quest or doing something cool within a game. Soon, Sony followed and introduced trophies. Now that Nintendo is preparing to enter the HD era of gaming, a lot of gamers wonder what is taking them so long to get on the accomplishment band wagon. For this entry in the Bitmob Writing Challenge, I want to explain the reasons behind Nintendo’s reluctance to use achievements on their systems, and if are they justified.

The Game Change II

In the first blog, I dealt with M rated games being sold through parents to younger children. I brought the question up on how this should be handle so that cliché problems from certain groups don’t rant and wave about it and using unproven scientific facts to help with their argument.

Losing The Meaning Of Video Games

I can honestly say that games will never worry me. Even with backlash or agreements on various games and their styles and game play, I continue to be amazed and wrapped in them. They are not my whole world though and I can easily distance myself when I know I had enough. My reason for saying this: I think video games may become obsolete.

crazy x crossover

I wonder what would happen if Joust and Ghost’n’Goblins became a crossover game? Arthur on the Joust Ostrich with him throwing his lance on a 2D land shoot em up. Develop by Treasure. Okay, that is way far fetch (and would be difficult to play if Treasure makes it super hard). With Professor Layton/Phoenix Wright, Street Fighter x Tekken and vice versa and all other kind of cross over games, I think the most unknown and unexpected games to come together and make something mind blowing would be what we need.

A Thought Of Being Used

Let me see what happens with this one.  What I mean is that we can argue about used games and never get a solution beside games going digital and that’s it.  I for one, want to see if people feel that used games can help a gamer’s library expand or that it is the only way to get certain games when they go out of print.  

The Right to be Disinterested!?

I recently picked up the latest Electronic Gaming Monthly issue and on the cover, it had a title for their cover story saying “Battlefield 3 vs. Call Of Duty: MW3”. I was interest to see what the story is about and basically it boiled down to which one will be the most successful out of the two. The magazine does a great job pointing out their strengths and weaknesses for each game. Written very well and insightful, it made me think of something else. What right do I have to be disinterested in both of them? I’m not really into war or FPS as a personal option to add to my collection of games. In fact, has any of us thought of any reason to be disinterested in games that are successful and are guarantee sells for that publisher?

The Power of The Score

As a gamer since 1985, I never consider score points to be the main point of a game. Some may see high scores of proven skill or how they have some kind of supernatural power to rank up combos with ease. Some have become legendary for pulling off this feat over time with arcade classics like Pac Man, Galaga, Robotron, and Donkey Kong. It was a moment in time to those who gain fame and recognition for it. Yet, now a days, only a certain amount of people are setting records with score and some games now a says don’t have it. Has the power of the score change or has it turned into something else?

Balancing Act

Capcom? Let’s talk. I really want to know why Gill was created in the first place for Street Fighter 3? No, do not give me that answer of hardcore SF Fans needed a challenge. You, my friend, have slept with difficulty far to long and this is a betrayal to me. I love you for the game but I cannot mess with Gill. He should have never come into existence. Until you learn what balance is, you and your game will be unplayable (or at least until someone give me a challenge at a arcade only cabinet).

Can Controversial Games Be Made In A Tasteful Manner

We are not mature. Let me be more correct with this. We are not ready for a new experience in thematic games that may cross the line. For console players, we want things that work. We long for fun sequels or original stories with new or used concepts. We prefer better music over level design and great voice acting and a working camera than the characters themselves. This might seem odd to you but think about it: What would you be willing to play more? A game that has a Military/Space marine plot or something that deals with abortion?