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Games You Probably Like; But Shouldn’t: Damage Control

June 26, 2009
by
Damage ControlHello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to a special edition of “Games You Probably Like, But Shouldn’t” that I am lovingly calling “Damage Control.”  This edition was originally intended as a monthly response article where I could answer the comments made on various websites in reference to my sometimes controversial statements within GYPLBS.  Due to reader response however, the monthly “Damage Control” article will become one that occurs after every three GYPLBS’s.  So without further ado, I present the first edition of “Damage Control”…

Let’s start things off chronologically, shall we?  Comments were made concerning the Fallout 3 post on both this blog and the websites http://www.nma-fallout.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=50790 and http://www.n4g.com/News-345431.aspx so I will be responding to issues raised in all.

TheWesDude stated on NMA:

“what ever happened to the days of “investigative reporting” where reporters tore people apart for their &$#%ups and exposed them to the masses… and the masses listened?
this guy reminds me of a teacher shaking her finger at the bully who just beat up a nerd and broke his ribs and nose.”  (Edited for a broader viewership)

I’d like to take this time to make a few points clear to the readers.  Most importantly, I am not out to be another destructive blogger whose only goal is to tear apart everything he sees.  I understand the necessity of strong criticism in some cases; however, I refuse to be harsh in those critical depictions for two reasons.  First, these are opinionated pieces, so no matter how justified I feel in my beliefs concerning a game; I will never let that become a form of anger.  I intend to hold this column up to higher standards in writing, whether that is my grammar, word choice, or even use of profanity.  I respect the game designers, players, my readers, and my self, so I will not belittle any of us through outbursts, excessive whining, or coarse language, all of which have become too prevalent and commonplace online.  Second, these critiques are not intended as an end all be all.  An observant reader will find that I’ve never said to absolutely not play these games.  In the same mode of thinking of respecting my readers, I feel the gaming community should hold itself to certain standards.  My intentions are to humbly show where these measures of a game’s or designer’s character do not stand tall.  In fact, these articles could be seen as advisories for the production teams and the only way I or TBMAG can hope to be taken seriously is through a mature and understanding mindset.

Numerous individuals commented on the analog to digital switch over on NMA; however, Brother None found the heart of the analogy:

SuAside wrote:
is anyone stupid enough to think that comparison is even remotely valid?


Actually, yes.
It’s noticeable that many people don’t understand what innovations entails, and that progress is created by attempts to innovate that either succeed or fail. Radiant AI was a massive failure, yet it is still an innovation that moves the industry forward because people look at it and learn, knowing that this is not they way to do it. That’s innovation, which isn’t always a good thing per individual case even if it’s always a good thing overall.
Same goes for change overall. It seems to be outside many people’s conceptual framework that you can not file all change under one positive, progressive nomer, and that some change is in fact regressive, or really not change but outright replacement, such as Fallout 3’s.”

My point in regards to the analog/digital switch was as follows:  If you have followed the news remotely, then you will quickly notice the controversy that had been brewing concerning the television broadcast switch.  Many people argued that it would be near impossible to switch over all the antennae being used, claimed the new system was all for naught, etc.  In the case of television, opponents were generally and utterly wrong, especially since the majority of televisions have already been rigged for digital interface.  How does this relate to Fallout 3?  Just as Brother None said, it’s the same form of progress except that in this case, most can say the original format was much better.

Ausdoerrt stated on NMA:

Quote:
“But, still it’s entertaining to shoot someone in the head and have all of their body parts explode into gore.There’s nothing to get from the article after this. I wonder how the guy who loved the asploding heads even conceived of writing something bad about FO3. Anything from calling the levelup system “complicated” to the graphics “amazing”, etc etc was laughable.

Well, the only thing he got spot-on was the music. The rest of the article lacked any serious analysis, was full of errors and whining about similarity with Oblivion, which wasn’t even that important (not for me anyway, some other stuff was much worse, like the broken levelup system etc.)”

No matter how over-analytical I may become in life, how much knowledge I obtain, I will always understand, if not enjoy, my baser instincts.  Can I grasp the inner workings of masterfully worked plots?  Most of the time.  I can also have an amused chuckle at bits of people getting blown halfway across the D.C. Metro area.  I can also empathize with other people’s ideas of games.  While I connected with the level up system no problem, to many it was foreign, new, and a burden.  My articles are meant for all gamers and, as such, I will continue to write with them in mind.

Anonymous commented on TBMAG:

“Yeah yeah… what about character development?? What about dialog?? what about monotonous voice acting (except for ron perlman, mr. president and three dog)?? What about insipid NPCs??? What about the magnanimously stupid enemy AI?? If you are gonna give us a shooter (combat plays like a shooter) at least try to give the enemies some AI… What about graphical glitches and wooden animations brought in from Oblivion without a single upgrade?? What about supermutants transformed into mindless orcs?? What about raiders tranformed into midless reavers [from firefly]??”

This is where my weakness comes to the surface of my writing.  In many cases, I will not have the ability to go into great detail as to all the aspects of a game that need to be considered.  That, in a way, is my fault for not taking the time to do; although, I am also not aiming to reiterate the items brought up by numerous reviews online, in magazines, and on television.  While I completely agree with all of these points, I am focusing on those points of a game that I feel aren’t being reviled as much as they should.

Now, let’s move on to the most controversial article of the three by far, Final Fantasy VII.  Let me start out by saying that this was extremely difficult piece for me to write as I am guilty of many nostalgic leanings towards this game.  Aside from Chrono Trigger and Earthbound, FFVII stands as one of my favorite RPG’s.  As part of my original goals, I wanted to go headlong into my top games as well as much as my lowest.  I will be responding to comments from TBMAG, http://www.n4g.com/News-347076.aspx , http://www.neoseeker.com/forums/1169/t1379296-games-you-probably-like-but-shouldn-ffvii/ , and http://www.gamegrep.com/blog/21900-an_opinion_on_the_overratedness_of_final_fantasy_vii/#c128322 for this section.

I’d like to begin by giving a very large shout out to Celes Leonhart from the NeoSeeker forums.  I posted this blog there, knowing that there would be quite an outcry against it; however, within the depths of people hating me merely for the title, this moderator of the site stood up and tried to point out the obvious:  People should read the articles before commenting.  Celes brought clarity of thought to an overall quickly deepening hatred for the article and possible the site as a whole.  I was afraid of such a backlash, but once again I can’t thank Celes enough.

Biohazard01 on TBMAG and Biohazard01_FF7 on NeoSeeker stated roughly the same thing:

Quote:

“I don’t understand what this guy is trying to say. Is he saying that FFVII is such a great game, we should hate it? Is he saying that FFVI had a better plot structure than FFVII? Lmao!  ”
“His argument: the game is so great, there are so many fans, argo, it’s stupid.
Hahahahahaha!”

‘I mean, Kefka? Epic win! Sephiroth FTL. ur a noob if u dont agree.’ I doubt you know the meaning of the word ‘noob’. When you do, come back and talk to us.”

Obviously these two screen names were the same individual, but this response was so often declared it almost scared me out of continuing the column.  Ladies and gentlemen, while I intend of running this column and writing it with respect, one of my most used mediums for points is sarcasm.  I personally like VII better than VI; however, that final comment was intended as a sarcastic play on how “fanboys” refer to games.  In the future, I may somehow accent sentences of phrases that are facetious, but only if readers comment that they feel it is necessary as well.

Speaking of fanboys, numerous individuals commented on my use of the term, so many in fact that I don’t feel like I should quote any single one.  Once again, this is in the same vein as the “noob speak.”  Fanboy is a term I use with heavy sarcasm because, by all means, I could be considered part of the throngs as well.  I also note that I’m referring to the minority of those people who are, without a better word, obsessed; this is not a topic I expected would cause such uproar.

Wraith from NeoSeeker said:

“Like I said last time I haven’t read the article as you put it, it’s about fanboys, and I’ve herd that speech so many times now, and it doesn’t change the facts Your browser may not support display of this image.
I’m more replying to what you guys are saying, so all I know is what you guys are writing here.”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most individuals who do comment on the articles actually read them.  I don’t feel I need to go in depth about this.  This is on par with me saying that I refuse to watch The Godfather and think its “stupid” based on the fact that I hated the Sopranos.  Before anyone gets mad, I enjoy both, so no nasty comments on my poor tastes in mob related material.

There were other comments based on the idea of opinions and having favorite games.  As a final statement on this, I will say this.  My point was that it is fine to have a favorite game; I in fact have many.  What is unhelpful is the decision that a single game is better than any other and will continue to be in the future.  It taints your perspective for anything you may come across.

Normally, I would go into the third piece, Need for Speed: Most Wanted; however, I didn’t get enough comments to really justify it.  Let me make it clear though that I do appreciate those who took the time to read and hopefully enjoy it.  As for those who claimed this was way too outdated, where were you for the FFVII review?  Well, to appease those individuals, I will be starting of the next trio with the very modern, especially with the announced sequel, Uncharted, so stay tuned.

As a final, but most important thought, I just want to thank all of my readers, the TBMAG staff, my close friends who support me in this, Allison, and the source of all my writing ability.  If it weren’t for you all, none of this would be possible.

-Brandon

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Celes Leonhart permalink
    June 26, 2009 2:39 pm

    You guys are spoiling me with these shout outs, haha. Thanks again!

    I think that clarifies pretty much everything there is too say; anyone who would continue to stress their point is probably to set in their ways to recognise any other stand point. That’s how it seemed to be when I was trying to argue. This even highlighted something I didn’t know (and apparently one of Big Man & Garrett if I remember the comment correctly): while I knew you was mocking the fanboy nature, I thought you was honest in thinking Final Fantasy VI was better. That’s probably the reason there were so many people offended by the statement.

    Just a note – you might want to put “-Brandon” at the end, because the “By The Big Man” at the top makes things awful confusing.

    Nice writing again, looking forward to that Uncharted piece especially; that’s a game with huge potential for one of these articles. I think we definitely need a forum too, it’s a shame if that’s unrealistic.

    Good work and speak soon.

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