Gamers get rewarded for good behavior

ID-100137511 By franky242 Playing Game Console
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/franky242

Gamers can be quite competitive, so anything that results in rewards of any kind could become pretty popular. Enter Microsoft’s reputation algorithm for XBox Live. The company wants better behavior on their system, so they’re going to try the carrot instead of the stick. The idea is that if you reward good behavior, that’s more effective in discouraging bad behavior.

It will be fascinating to see how this plays out. In the heat of a live game, passions can get pretty heated, and frankly there a psychological and intimidation aspect to any good game, whether it’s a war game on XBox or Texas Holdem’ or other new poker games you can play in real time. Sometimes trash talk can rattle your opponent. Other times being quiet works as well, but that’s really up to the gamer.

Of course encouraging sportsmanship is a worthy goal, and I’m sure the behavior on these systems can get pretty bad. It must rival tthe comment section on YouTube and Reddit for depravity. But for many that’s a huge part of the fun.

Frank Savage, partner and development lead at Microsoft, says they are still in the brainstorming phase for Xbox Live’s reputation system, so who knows how this will play out. And I do like the rewards idea better than punishment for the reasons outlined above, though blocking and muting will still likely be part of the overall system. And of course you need those tools. The best gamers can find ways to intimidate without being offensive.

And this is the real lesson here. These are “games” and should be treated that way. If you can jab your opponent and get him off his or her game without being offensive and thus getting muted or blocked, then you’re a much more effective gamer. This applies in real life as well with games like pool, ping pong etc.

So take stock of this and up your game.

Our Favorite Movie Tie In Games

Ever since the early 1970′s merchandising with movies has been a massive market that has seen the cash roll in for the film’s backers. After a decade of t-shirts, lunchboxes and action figures, the early 80′s saw the first movie – video game tie-in as Hollywood looked to take advantage of the fledging home console market to bring in more cash. One of the first tie-ins was the 1982 movie/game E.T. The Extraterrestrial on the Atari and it was such a very poor effort it was cited as one cause of the video game industry crash. There have been many instances of poorly licensed games over the last 30 years, but there are also plenty of gems too and we list our favourite movie tie in video games here.

Chronicles of Riddick – Escape from Butcher Bay

The character Richard B. Riddick was created in the film Pitch Black, a low budget film released in 2000, and by 2004 a sequel, the titular Chronicles of Riddick, was being made and although the second movie did not do as well as expected, the spin off game Escape from Butcher Bay had the exact opposite story. The game was developed by Starbreeze Studios, published by Vivendi Games and is a first person action/stealth game, similar to Half Life or Splinter Cell, set before the first of the Riddick films.

Film actor Vin Diesel reprised his role of Riddick for the game that sees the title character have the escape for the Butcher Bay maximum security facility using both brawn and brain, just as Riddick does in the movies. The game was released on the Xbox in June 2004 to critical acclaim with IGN giving it 8.5/10, GameZone 9.2/10 and Game Informer giving 9.5. It also won three awards in 2004 and 2005, including the Unsung Hero Game of the Year (Editors’ Award) at the Golden Joystick Awards. An expanded and updated version was released in 2008 with the game The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena.

Star Wars: Battlefront

Battlefront is one of the great tie-ins with one of the great movie series’ as you take control of one character from one of the four main groups of protagonists from both the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy of Star Wars movies and battle to eliminate your opponents. The game came out in 2004 to fine reviews receiving a Metacritic high rating of 82% for the PS2 version, while 1UP.com said “Battlefront manages to stand tall as a great game that does the best job we’ve yet seen of playing out the battles of the Star Wars movies.”

There are many other Star Wars games that could easily feature on this list, such as The Knights of the Old Republic – although not a direct movie tie in – as well as X-Wing and TIE Fighter where you commanded the space craft of the Rebels and the Empire, but Battlefront with it pitting you at the centre of some of the biggest Star Wars battles edges it for us.

The Dark Knight

While there was a planned video game for the release of this 2008 Christopher Nolan follow up to the rebooted Batman Begins movie from 2005, but the game for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 did not materialise and was cancelled. However, from the embers of this there was another type of game linked to the movie – an online slot machine created by Microgaming. In December 2012 a UK resident, Jon O. – a member of free bingo games site butlersbingo.com – turned a 30p spin into almost £6m! This online slot machine features cinematic spins, with video clips straight from the movie, while both Batman and The Joker appear at random to award prizes.

Games to Look Forward to in 2014

2013 was definitely a magnificent year for the gamers of the world. Next level games such as Battlefield 4, Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, to name a few, had all the different types of gamers jumping up and down in pure ecstasy. With a year that had so much to offer, one might fear that 2014 might struggle to keep the hype and excitement alive. At the start of each new year, gamers come together, looking around nervously, wondering just what next generation game they will be able to sink their teeth into. It’s always a gamble, like on some https://www.jackgold.com/p/mobile-slots website, as to whether a game will live up to the hype, but luckily, it seems that the future looks promising. Here are three games I’m looking most forward to for 2014.

The Elder Scrolls: Online

Release date: 4 April (June for consoles)

If you’ve played any of the Elder Scrolls games, there is no need for me to remind you why this is one of the most anticipated games of 2014. Set in the same world as the previous instalments, but a thousand years before the adventures of Skyrim, this open world game moves away from the single player mode and into the thrilling territories of online. This brings about a whole new dimension in the form of PvP combat, granted you don’t take an arrow to the knee.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Release date: 4 March

As an avid fan of South Park, and anything Trey Parker and Matt Stone are involved in writing, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that the hilarious duo would actually be writing the game too. My excitement reached a whole new level when I realised Obsidian Entertainment (creators of Fallout: New Vegas) would take the developer’s seat. Get ready for some fun shenanigans, South Park style!

Tom Clancy’s The Division

Release date: End of 2014

As a complete sucker for both third-person tactical shooter games as well as mass multiplayer role-playing games, when I read about The Division, which combines both formats, I could hardly contain my excitement. When a deadly pandemic hits, leaving the world battered and chaotic, it is up to the Strategic Homeland Division to pick up the pieces and save whatever remains, no matter the cost. This epic MMORPG will see players come face-to-face with AI, friends and other players.

By Jason Swindon

Gamers are More Divided Than Ever…And That’s a Good Thing

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Become enthralled by one thing long enough and regardless of whatever the thing itself may be, the same set of questions tends to present themselves when you began to look back on it.

While the questions are too varied to cover in full, a host of them will inevitably concern comparing that thing as it once was, to how the thing is now. When doing so it’s often essential to use your experience to properly separate the past as it actually occurred, and the past as you perceive it through the eyes of nostalgia.

That’s a distinction that’s been running through my mind recently as I look at how games have changed from both the day one origins of the medium, and from my personal start as a gamer, to where they are now. In doing so, it’s interesting to discover and distinguish the things that have actually changed, as opposed to the things that you heart tells you are different.

Specifically, lately I’ve been wondering if the gaming community really is more hostile to each other and divided than it has been ever before.

My heart tells me the answer is yes. After all, it seemed like the cultural divide among gamers when I was young didn’t extend far past Sega v.s. Nintendo. Now, though, we have issues like AAA v.s. indies, Digital Rights Management, the treatment of women in video games, the validity of YouTube gaming as a career, the ethics of micro-transactions, gaming as art, and many, many, more. All of those issues cause a nigh infinite series of divides among the gamers of the world, and that’s before you even get into the traditional Xbox, PS4, Wii U, and PC debates.

The question then is, are we really more divided as a gaming community than ever before? Is there really more of a hostile environment between gamers everywhere than there was back in the old days? Or instead, has this always been the case and its only the rapid speed the internet carries information and opinions at from all corners that causes the perception that there is more arguments than ever before?

Even when you approach that topic from an unbiased perspective, the answer will almost always be yes. Gamers are more divided and hostile than ever. The once popular idea of a community of gamers united against the rest of the world’s upturned noses at the very idea of gaming, has given way to a civil war with infighting on nearly every front. While you could argue if the embodiment of a gaming community with an “us against the world” mentality ever did truly exist at all, there’s little doubt that certainly isn’t the case now.

And you know what? In many ways we’re better off this way.

Well…Most of the Time Anyway

Oh sure from time to time I see a topic or viewpoint that I personally consider to be outlandish get very heated, and want to cite the always popular (yet rarely practical) “Can’t we all just get along?” belief, but for the most part I’ve come to accept the constant presence of various heated debates to be a good thing for gaming, and not a detriment.

The reason being is that complacency in any industry is never a good thing. No matter what else you can say against the average gamer, one this that’s for sure is that they are not a complacent lot. Not only are they quick to turn against something the moment it becomes a little too commonplace and comfortable, but they are always seeking out and confronting hot button issues without much in the way of fear hindering them. These may not always lead to the most sophisticated and intelligent debates mind you, but they are debates nonetheless.

It’s that constant stream of debate that ensures that developers, publishers, journalists, bloggers, websites, and anyone else on the creation side of the industry can never rest on their laurels. If there weren’t the dissension that exists on so many topics that we currently enjoy today, it’s possible that many of those in gaming wouldn’t feel the pressure (or even obligation) to create a variety of experiences that can cater to any number of personal tastes, preferences and beliefs.

There is a real passion behind many of the various viewpoints in the gaming world that is more and more leading to gamers from all walks of life getting creative and making something that perfectly represents their own particular set of thoughts. That not only serves as great entertainment for those that agree, but  fuel for those who do not to do the same and create something of their own in opposition.

Sure its a general attitude that doesn’t really lead to a perfect gaming world (and there are, perhaps, some topics we would be better off being unified on), but its never really been a perfect world has it? The one we have now, though where gaming is essentially forced to constantly mature, re-invent itself, and provide a variety of experiences precisely because the role and image of a gamer is no longer a caricature, but rather a group of  increasingly outspoken and discerning individuals is a pretty damn exciting one to live in, at least in lieu of perfection.

If there is one warning that all divided gamers need to heed though, its that we should all be careful to remember that at the end of the day, games are first and foremost meant for enjoyment and to be experienced. In that regard, it’s important to never be afraid to challenge your own views by actively seeking a variety of games in order to ensure that your beliefs (whatever they may be, on whatever topic or whatever style) are ones formed by trying all of the different experiences that games have to offer, and not limit yourself at all times to those that only serve your particular notions, thus undoing all of the good the current sometimes hostile and divided culture we enjoy as gamers is actually doing.

Is there a certain appeal to a utopian world where gamers come together to form a “Pleasantville” like community based on shared essential beliefs? Perhaps. But there’s also an appeal in a more gotham like gaming community where hostility and divided beliefs may rule the day, but they ultimately come together to form an impressive world that can only be forged from the fires of such a variety of passions.

Whether that’s your idea gaming world or not, it’s time we all stood back and appreciated the beauty and quality that world can so often lead to.

Five Goals Gaming Still Has Left to Pursue

As we approach 2014, it’s hard to not feel proud of the gaming industry and how far it’s come. Every year it seems that gaming is knocking down pre-conceived limitations, and defying the expectations of naysayers who thought that certain gaming accomplishments would never be realized.

That being said, though, its important to remember that there is always more ground to cover. While everyone’s personal industry wide wishlists for the future are sure to vary wildly, here are five goals both minor and major that I feel that gaming as a whole still has left to achieve.

Establish a True Comedy Genre

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Comedy, as a genre, has been around for essentially as long as the act of storytelling has. While it rarely gets the same level of critical or artistic praise that drama does, anyone who knows even the basics of storytelling knows that the two have a yin and yang relationship where the absence of one tends to throw the other out of balance.

Gaming’s relationship with comedy is somewhat less traditional. While there have been funny games before, and there have been plenty of funny moments in video games, there isn’t really a recognized independent comedy genre in gaming, as there isn’t really a steady enough stream of pure comedy game to justify its existence.

While you can’t fairly make a blanket statement on why that is, in general I feel that the underlying issue is similar to the one that faces the pure horror genre. By that I mean that there is a growing feeling among major publishers that comedy games aren’t viable financial investments. In the increasingly more expensive world of AAA game design, that’s pretty much the kiss of death.

It’s also an incredible shame as comedy is one of the most essential aspects of any entertainment medium, and gaming seems to be trending in a way that is discouraging the pursuit of it as a primary concept more and more. While modern titles like “The Stanley Parable,” give hope that indie developers may give new life to the creative pursuit of this idea, should that prove to not be the case then you have to consider gaming’s inability to really establish a true recognized comedy genre to be among the industry’s more notable failures.

Make Sports Announcers Sound Human

Announcers

Man, this one just irks me.

We’ve come a long, long way in the world of gaming technology to the point that the law of diminishing returns is becoming a more and more popular citation when addressing the subject. Yet despite those innovations, modern sports game announcers still sound like a group of particularly antisocial robot reading lines off the sweaty palms of someone just barely in their range of sight.

I understand that as many sports announcers are pre-recorded personalities its incredibly difficult for them to account for the many variables that can occur during a typical game. However, you can’t convince me that the quality of video game sports announcers today is the apex of the technology.

What’s really needed is greater incorporation of  some dynamic commentary elements. For instance, if my quarterback in “Madden” is having a bad year and throws another interception, it’d be nice to hear the announcers mention a potential QB controversy brewing. Similarly, if a QB is in a contract year and putting up career numbers, there should be some acknowledgment of the situation.

Regardless of the specifics, the general idea is that announcers need to start occasionally sounding like human beings. Some games are better than others (the WWE games are a great example of video game announcers at their worst), but in general this is a flaw that has plagued gaming for far too long.

Mature the Incorporation of Sex In Games

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See, gaming has actually done historically well with the subjects of romance and relationships over the years. However, once things start to go beyond a platonic level, the quality of the subject gets more and more murky.

Historically speaking many games have either treated the subject of sex with the maturity of a particularly horny teenage male, or with the prudishness of a wasp couple. There haven’t really been many attempts to incorporate sex into a game (even one that would seem to naturally include it) in a way that feels organic.

It’s a bit of an embarrassment, honestly. There is still an unfortunate perception amongst the casual observer regarding the maturity and social skills of the average gamer, and the fact that there haven’t been many titles that handle such a basic topic in a mature, non-exploitative, yet still entertaining way does that image no favors.

Now, I could be wrong on this matter and there could be some game, or games, out there that actually covers sex in a way similar to what I’ve described. However, even if that is the case, the absence of that approach as a standard is the larger issue as it concerns gaming and sex.

Create or Discover the “Citizen Kane” of Gaming

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I’m hesitant to include this entry because of the vague nature of the entire idea behind it. However, since this is among the most popular topics of discussion as it concerns the advancement of gaming, I’ll play devil’s advocate and give it a shot.

The basic idea behind the “Citizen Kane” of video games is that a game will come along that will make the average game fan (and society at large) recognize games as a legitimate potential art form, in the same way that “Citizen Kane” is recognized as the film that helped movies get established as a legitimate potential art form.

It’s a fundamentally faulty notion, but the spirit of the idea does have an air of truth to it. The average person doesn’t typically view gaming as an art form, and elements of gaming in mass media coverage tend to be about gaming controversies, or are otherwise cheap and insulting attention grabbers like the VGX awards, which actively harm the idea that there is a higher calling in gaming as a potential art form among more casual, or even indifferent, users.

Of course, what people tend to forget is that “Citizen Kane” was not an overnight game changer for many. Instead it would only fulfill that role in hindsight after a flood of ambitious, artistic, and financially successful titles that were directly influenced by it would make “Citizen Kane” the generally accepted turning point.

So perhaps instead the question of whether of not gaming will get its “Citizen Kane” shouldn’t just be a lookout for an individual release on the horizon, but a careful examination of the past to see if it’s already been released.

Improve the Current Video Game Property and Licensing System, or Create a New One

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Have you ever wondered why a certain favorite game has never seen a sequel, or why that original game no longer seems to be available for digital download? Well it could honestly be for any number of reasons, but more often than not the problem is one of licensing.

Gaming has long had serious issues with property licensing. While this is sometimes tied into the inclusion of a third party property (like the one that faced “The Simpsons” Konami games), there are a disturbing amount of completely independent properties that are handcuffed by archaic, or even non-existent, laws.

The entire system regarding property video game rights and license acquisition is one of the most convoluted and mysterious in all of entertainment. While many might think it’s a simple matter of contacting the right party and offering the right figure, the truth is rarely so simple.

Good Old Games shed some light on this issue earlier in the year when they revealed that the process to acquire “System Shock 2” for digital distribution took years of concentrated effort, most of which involved navigating a system shrouded in confusion where even the people who were the right ones to contact, didn’t know they were the ones who should be contacted. During the course of their lengthy legal battles they were often working without a net, as precedent for such an effort is almost non-existent.

In some cases, the situation surrounding property rights of games would be hilarious if they weren’t so sad. For example, the popular “No One Lives Forever” series has long been unavailable to modern users due to the simple fact that no one knows who has the rights to it, even among the small group of people that potentially could. In other words, under the current system, entire game licenses can be lost as easy as a set of car keys.

It’s an embarrassing mess of bureaucracy and incompetence. Recent years have seen some major improvements in this area, but unless a concise and through overhaul of this entire system is undergone, we run the risk of making a sizable part of gaming history inaccessible.

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