Saints & Sinners (Mar. 30)
In the video game industry, the fans are bombarded by two separate yet equally important groups: Saints, who bring with them only the purest form of joy, and Sinners, beings dedicated solely to evoking misery. These are their stories.
Friends, colleagues, and uninterested third parties that have stumbled upon this article via the majesty of the Google search engine, I am, for the first time in weeks, happy. There are a lot of reasons for this, one of which I’ll go into fairly soon, but not the least of which is the fact that I’m imposing my first ever Saints & Sinners branded moratorium; discourse regarding Mass Effect 3 is no longer permitted in this column. This decision comes after two weeks of overindulgence into the subject that has left both parties bitter and frustrated with the other. I had come upon a new feeling of content after handing down this ruling…and then I sat down to write this week’s editorial.
I’m mad once more.
Ramon Aranda, John De Large, and viewers like you: Anger will have to wait its turn, though, as I have much sappy, self-indulgent hero worship to impress upon all of you before getting down to the nitty gritty.
This coming week, I will be flying out to Boston to participate in my first ever PAX East. Not only that, but I will also be attending my first ever show as a registered member of the press. It may not seem like much to any of your or most people in general, but to me this is the realization of a dream that I’ve held since the day I first picked up a controller; covering a big event with major industry players has been the constant in my thoughts as I pursue a hopeful career in this very field.
I could easily set forth on a rant about how I’ve worked my way up to this point and that this has been the culmination of several years worth of hard work; it hasn’t been. I consider myself to be a very lucky man that has been placed in the best of circumstances. Roughly four years ago, Ramon Aranda, editor of this and many other fine amalgamations of the written word, took me in under his wing. The environment that I learned in, one composed of talented writers and revered communicators such as Ramon himself, is one that turned out to be very beneficial to my personal and interpersonal growth.
It was there that I met John De Large, known here for his work on Xbox Fever, and sparked up a friendship that has carried me to this very point. There was a time in my life that I had abandoned the art form of the pen and paper; De Large is the only reason that I ever made my return. His website, New Game Plus, allowed me an amount of freedom and self-expression that ultimately catapulted me to my spot here at Got Game.
I wanted to take this long, overwrought portion of my column to thank them and to also thank you. Without support from peers and readers I would be back where I was a few years ago, a man without even the slightest interest in partaking in the industry’s daily functioning. Without you, I wouldn’t be set to embark on one of the greatest adventures of my life.
PSN Users: Alright, that’s over; now, where were we? Ah, yes, Journey, the latest obscure art endeavor undertaken by thatgamecompany. Obscure might not be the best word to describe it, though, because the game has seen an unusual amount of support to the tune of becoming the fastest selling game in PSN history.
Where did this come from? I understand that Journey has seen a plethora of hype on blogs and other such publications, but I had received no indication that the anticipation had penetrated such a wide swath of the Playstation 3’s demographic. I’m surprised; I’m pleasantly surprised.
First, I feel that I am inclined to say that I do not have any personal interest in the title whatsoever. To me, it looks like an art-house masterpiece that is more likely to bore me to tears than drag any real emotion from my cruel, unfeeling heart. However, I am very excited to see a game so unique and devoid of the medium’s typical tropes find success with a decently proportioned audience.
What are the best selling titles on the Xbox Live Marketplace? Typically, that honor goes to a title like Castle Crashers or Geometry Wars. Both of those games are fantastic, I assure you, but they certainly lack in the risk department that Journey so thrives in. Where they play it safe, Journey makes great strides in innovative design and mechanics.
Generally speaking, I’m a proponent of risk-taking. There are times when it goes horribly, terribly wrong (BMX XXX), but in this case we have a product in which it goes admirably, terrifically right. Support of innovation is always good enough to be labeled a Saint in my eyes so bravo PSN users. Bravo.
Michael Bay: Did you hear that sound? It was the sound of my enthusiasm flying straight out of the window and into the nearest active volcano.
I don’t simply dislike Michael Bay; I hate Michael Bay. He may be the only director alive that can dwarf the tragedy of Pearl Harbor with a movie that is even more tragic. He may be the only director alive that can drag monstrous, fighting robots through the Palace of Monotony and into the Land of Utter Boredom. Unfortunately, the franchise-ruining grimace of Michael Bay has turned itself upon a new victim: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The Turtles are no strangers to mediocrity as it is. Outside of their first two film endeavors, the four brothers have found themselves in a variety of uninteresting scenes tied together into one massive, uninteresting plot. I always enjoy the movies to a certain extent, but not even I, a loyal compatriot of the heroes in a half-shell, can deny their slip into a self-invoked irrelevance.
That said, I still bristle when I hear their name, their voices, or that delightful tune that always accompanies their entrance; when I heard that the Ninja Turtles would again be on the receiving end of a reboot, I was on the verge of doing the Lance Vance Dance. Moments later, I came to discover that Michael Bay had his hands on my beloved childhood series and all forms of the Lance Vance Dance were brought to an abrupt end. It appears that the halt came for good reason, too, as news this week broke revealing that Bay would be infringing upon much of which made the Turtles iconic.
Mutants? Nope, not anymore; the Ninja Turtles are aliens. They are still aliens, but that simply must go for the sake of the film’s title. Ninja Turtles is the entirety of the film’s name, a move that already makes the film reek of the rest of the tripe that Hollywood tries to push off as quality art. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if a reboot of Power Rangers came about that completely ditched the Mighty Morphin’ aspect in favor of a title that was more sleek and easier on the eye.
Ninja Turtles is my preemptive selection for worst film adaption of a beloved children’s franchise of all time. I don’t imagine that I’ll receive much dissent for this statement considering the fact that Michael Bay is, and will always be, a Sinner.
EA: Sadly, the moratorium on Mass Effect 3 does not extend to EA as a whole; you can look forward to this variety of content for the many weeks yet to come. EA is in hot water this time not for work done on an space-based intellectual-property but for one that resides in modern civilization: SimCity. SimCity’s announcement came with no shortage of praise and excitement. The latest collaboration between EA and Maxis promised to be everything that fans wanted in a sequel and more. That was until more news broke that made EA less the subject of a bard’s noble story and more the item of a jester’s cruel wit.
SimCity will not support mods at launch. This may come as a shock to many of you especially when you consider the fact that SimCity 4 has largely existed to this point in time riding the coattails of user-created mods. Their absence from the new game’s outset feels unnecessary and quite simply out of place. Logic out of EA states that the studio needs time to focus on completing the retail product and not worrying about the future implementation of third-party content, but, when you take into consideration the impact of the modding community on previous products, it seems like it would almost be more important to consider this.
Even worse, SimCity can’t be played without an active internet connection. I understand the logic behind moves like this; forcing players into logging onto a server verifies that they’ve paid the extraordinary sum of money required to play a game. That might make more sense in a world that hadn’t so actively adapted the pirate lifestyle. The type of person that is going to illegally obtain a copy of SimCity is still going to do so, and a half-baked method to keep them out is only going to punish people that garnered their copy legitimately.
The argument is often made that, in this day and age, very few people have an issue with constant internet connection. This statement is, as is the case with all presumptive conjectures, asinine; yes, it is same to assume that most players actively pursuing a campaign in SimCity will be doing so from the comfort of their home, a humble abode which hosts a modest internet connection. This isn’t the case for all users, though, and it doesn’t seem right to punish the few for the privileges of the many.
I’m not a PC gamer in the least, but I often feel the urge to commentate on the subject. It is my belief that publishers, even those that have been a hardware mainstay, on the software have distanced themselves so far from fairness and equality that the culture may start on a process of erosion. PC users are so often batted around as if their rights don’t matter that I can’t personally imagine putting up with it any longer than I have to; stories like this are the reason that I isolate most of my experience to consoles.
EA, even without Mass Effect 3 to bolster your resolve you are still a Sinner. I’ll see you again next time.
Thus, we have reached the end of another riveting entry into Saints & Sinners lore. I will not be returning next week as I will be on a plane flying into Boston for PAX East, but after that it will back to your regularly scheduled dose of madness.
Judgement has been passed