Category Archives: Video Game Trends

The Great Video Game Crash of 2017

I was at home playing video games when I heard the terrible news. Truth be told, I was spread out on my couch, in my pajamas, holding a beer in one hand and tapping “X” as fast as my fingers would allow without blistering. Then I felt deep in my bones that something bad was about to happen. Some grave misfortune was looming and an eerie creaking sound, which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, seemed to confirm this.

I tried to watch a little T.V. news to distract myself from this warning. Instead, the disaster, unbeknownst to me at that time, was already in motion as I glued my eyes to the screen. This disaster had an insidious history,  and I was about to experience it for the first time. And after watching the screen for one minute, I sensed — but still didn’t clearly see — that something was wrong.

I couldn’t believe the absolute chaos! First one fell, then another toppled, and I heard a cracking sound and thud before the entire structure collapsed. I felt a tremor on the ground, could feel the dust in the air and could see it on my shirt. The dust even clogged my nose, causing me to breathe through my mouth and cough.

I turned to my right and noticed my shelf full of video games had fallen over and cases littered the floor. Did you not hear me? All the games I had organized, even when feeling feverish, were now a disorganized mess. What a disaster!

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Why Video Game Characters Would Make the Best Video Games

Video game characters are tired of people using them. They want to be the masters of their own destiny, not our play things in a virtual sandbox. The characters want to stand proud, make their own games and improve their lives.

First, video game characters will take control of game development. They’ll take the money out of the creative process. They will be less beholden to massive corporations for financial support because they have funds in their own games — from resplendent coins to swelling treasure chests. They could take this money and make any kind of game they want. They could work any amount of hours and not rush game development.

Then they could set the number of hours they had to work in the finished game. You know, most people assume video game characters love to work 40 hour shifts while their human owners play marathon sessions. Not so! In fact, a recent poll indicates eight out of every ten characters would prefer to star in a good two-hour game. They would love feeling rested instead of pinching themselves to stay awake at 3 a.m. These time limits would probably improve both gamers’ and the characters’ health.

Video game characters’ health would certainly improve because they could make games without facing imminent death. Unlike most blood drenched shooters, they would create games where they lived longer than five seconds. The characters could expand their lifetimes and lessen violence. While doing so, they would be taking thematic risks since violence is a prevailing theme in video games. Perhaps they could promote peace over violence. We could all benefit from lasting peace.

“But video game characters,” you might object, “don’t have the skills necessary to manage a team or construct games.” Don’t underestimate the talents and intelligence of some of the smarter characters. They could lead others and teach them the skills to develop fun games. In addition, the characters have years of field experience: they know what “gamers” want.

Video game characters are going to make the world a better place. They’ll start by taking control of video game development and taking the money out of the process. They’ll make thematically interesting games. And they’ll improve working conditions, so they can live longer and work less. All hail our video game character overlords.

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I’m Hopeful about Video Games

Aliens take over Earth. Ants enslave human begins and force us to dig tunnels. A cruel tyrant ascends to a throne covered in his victim’s blood.

Video games offer us hope. Even when the future seems dark, the player can turn on a flashlight and make everything brighter. The player can thwart evil and restore balance to the game world. The player can solve any problem.

But video games should remind us violence and aggression cannot solve our problems. Our world needs this reminder.

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Chew and Savour: Slow Video Games

Why would you not play video games for as long as possible? It seems reasonable to spend most of your time doing something you love. In fact, we could think of many reasons why one might play video games for hours on end. However, I prefer to play for a short period, having bursts of fun.

I play enjoy playing games more when I play for a short period, say an hour or so. I’m less likely to make mistakes if I’m not exhausted from clicking the same button over and over. I’m more alert when I haven’t been sitting and staring at a screen without a break. All of this means I do not get easily frustrated and give up. Instead, I can come back the next day to play for an hour and, sometimes, have just as much fun as the previous day.

Since I only play for an hour or so, I have so much time for the rest of my life. I have time to love and help and others, time to think about more than just myself. I have time to question things, to read and write, laugh and love. Oh how I love free time! I always try to set aside time for games and to ensure they do not consume everything else I do.

I will often reward myself after completing something important by playing a great game. Here, I chew into a game and savour it in all its richness. Too many bites over a long period leaves me stuffed and exhausted. The right amount of times leaves me full and happy. Then I go on to do everything else and look forward to the next time I can play again.

This chew-and-savour approach is tough — for both anteaters, who have no teeth, and humans. You know it can be tough to stop playing a game, to stop doing any activity you love. There will be moments of weakness because a good game can be hard to put down after an hour. Yet, this approach remains something to aim for as a gaming ideal.

Playing video games in shorts bursts could also save you money. I think this short play time certainly saves me cash. I don’t buy lots of new games, and there’s no need for me to buy because chewing and savouring encourages me to slowly finish each game.

Overall, I am happy to chew and savour my video games, to play them slowly and to play them for an hour or so. After all, there is much to do, I am more than just a gamer and you are too!


Do you play video games for short bursts of time or do you find yourself playing for hours on end?

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Why Video Games Should Play Themselves

Human beings are imperfect. How many times have you walked down the street and seen someone’s pants fall down as they bend down to tie their shoe laces? I bet you’ve seen it a lot. Well, it happens in video games too. No, I’m not talking about your pants falling down; I’m talking about embarrassing failures.

There are endless opportunities for embarrassing epic failures in video games. Falling over and over again to your death. Missing the boss’s weak spots, and instead, having him tenderize you for dinner. Falling asleep while eating or texting instead of beating the game. Throwing the controller and destroying it. Throwing a controller that flies in the air and wacks a friend on the head. Worst of all, throwing a controller that sails thoughtlessly through the air and smashes your T.V. The horror!

But it doesn’t need to be like this!

New video game technology will save us from ourselves.  If we just let games play themselves we could maximize successful game playing productivity while dramatically decreasing human error. Well, enough geek speak. In lay person’s terms, there will be “no more tears.”

But think of all the time heartache you’ll save. You can watch as the computer customizes your characters, embarks on an adventure, fights your battles for you, slays the dragons and marries your princess or prince. Occasionally, the computer will malfunction and you might need to take control and play the video game for up to one minute. But we guarantee to keep your play time to a minimum — or your money back.

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Watch out for the Darkness!

The evil henchmen lurk in the shadows while a halo shines over the hero’s white robes. Darkness versus light and good versus evil are common story themes, and I wish more games used darkness and light as both a game mechanic and theme.

Alan Wake is one example of a game that uses darkness and light well. You fight enemies and explore a dark landscape with flares, flashbangs, flashlights and more. When the forest around Wake becomes foggy, when the eerie music oozes out of your speakers, the tone is set for a battle between good and evil, darkness and light. Of course, you can also shoot enemies. Shooting is effective, but it’s also a bit of a problem.

See, I think a game could use all light-based weaponry to combat darkness. What exactly is a light-based weapon? I mean something that makes use of light to either stop an enemy or solve puzzles.
Leave the guns behind. They are in enough games. I propose, instead, that games should rise above mere guns,  explosions and blah, blah, blah, etc.

Imagine you play as a character who shines a light to save people. You turn the corner, not knowing what to expect, and break out into goosebumps at the next sight. You see the disfigured faces of a swarm of zombies moaning and groaning in the moonlit night. Your light frees these poor souls from their undead prison–and voilà–they become human again. That’s unexpected.

When we talk about darkness and light, we normally talk about a book or movie theme. Unlike a reading a book or watching a movie, you get to play with darkness and light in games. Non-gamers, who like a good story, might want to play just so they can take an active role when they experience this theme. And I, as game lover, would love something unique to play. So this is one game theme and mechanic that I hope see more of in the future.


 

What are some of your favourite games that use darkness and light in the story, gameplay or both?

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Why I Love Video Game Podcasts

I live alone.

Wow that might be the loneliest sentence I’ve ever written. I mean, look at it; it’s just sitting there without anything to keep it company.

Anyway, I discovered video game podcasts vaporize loneliness when I’m cleaning the washroom, washing pots, and waiting for dinner to cook. These podcasts do it all. They’re heavy lifters.

Sometimes they make me laugh. Sometimes I learn a random fact about the world. And sometimes they tell me about, believe it or not, video games. Here are three video game podcasts that keep me happy after a day of the doldrums.

1. Giant Bombcast

I started listening to these guys during their 2011 E3 coverage. Oh, boy, did they ever have excellent coverage. Well, their coverage suited my needs at that time. See, I was writing a major essay in university and had papers flying everywhere. Their E3 podcasts, which were over 3 hours long, helped me to laugh and kept me entertained while I worked. It was perfect in the background.

I fell in love with the show because they would talk about great games across all consoles and the PC. Then I could learn more about the games while watching a Quick Look video.

The cast has changed over the years–RIP Ryan–but they work well together. What makes me say that? Well, I can listen to their three-hour podcasts, and my ears are still hungry for more.
Oh, and I love when they share weird listener emails!

2. Podcast Beyond

Greg Miller, Colin Moriarty and an ever rotating series of guests host IGN’s Podcast Beyond, an ode to everything PlayStation. Wait! It’s a bit complicated. See, Greg and Colin left IGN to work on their own project, but they still do this podcast. I’m hoping they still do it for a long time.

I like this podcast because of the hosts’ personalities. Colin and I share a love of history, he reminds me of several people I know, and he gets along with well Greg. And Greg Miller makes this podcast something special. His intense enthusiasm for PlayStation is legendary, and his sense of humor makes the podcast unique.

The podcast is so good that I even listened to it before owning a PlayStation 3. Beyond!

3. The Game Informer Show

For me,  the Game Informer Show, compared to the other podcasts, is a lot more sober and serious. They don’t usually make me laugh at all. They don’t usually have weird but funny listener emails. And they don’t have strange outbursts and a stand out sense of humor.

But I love when they do special edition podcasts. In these episodes, they usually interview a developer about their upcoming game. And Game Informer staff will share the listeners’ questions with the developer. It’s always great to hear secrets about a game maker’s upcoming project. A very exciting episode type guaranteed to raise your excitement for a game. It’s a pleasure to listen to this podcast.


What are some of your favourite video game podcasts? I admit it: I don’t know them all, but I keep an open mind. Also, what are some of your favourite video game podcasts on WordPress.com? Feel free to plug your own show!

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