Question Their Quality, But Never Deny The Work Behind Popular YouTube Gamers

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I hate “The Big Bang Theory.” Understand that I don’t use hate often to describe something, but such is the case with that particular show. As an “out and proud” nerd such as it were, every time someone tells me that I must naturally love “The Big Bang Theory,” I tend to involuntarily cringe.

For the most part, I feel the way about many popular gaming YouTube personalities for largely the same reason. I find the quality of their content to be creatively cheap, and a bad image for the culture they have become the most vocal representatives of.

Of course please understand that isn’t meant as a blanket review of all gaming YouTube personalities. For instance, John Bain (better known by the handle TotalBiscuit), is one of  my most trusted gaming critics. For the most part though, the popular path to YouTube gaming fame of yelling at games and making cheap jokes along the way (let’s call it the PewDiePie effect) just doesn’t appeal to me, and quite honestly I don’t think it is meant to.

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It’s what has me somewhat conflicted about the recent YouTube content ID incident, which is threatening the livelihood, and in some cases very existence, of many of those YouTube personalities and their channels.

On one hand, I think that the literal implementation of archaic property and copyright laws that just don’t easily apply to video games is yet another in a shameful line of examples of the “world at large” not being sure exactly how to incorporate the medium properly into everyday life, business, and culture. I also do truly feel that these sanctions (many of which are completely bogus mind you) are just a taste of the world that is forming, in which the power and abilities of the individual is overshadowed almost entirely by that of the conglomerate, making it closer to impossible every day for that individual to shape their own fortune and make their own mark regardless of their current position in the world.

On the other hand, in terms of the content that we are potentially losing, I’m by and large unaffected. While there are some people hurt by this that I will miss, in the grand scheme of things from an entertainment perspective, I’m not ranking this occurrence with say the untimely cancellation of “Firefly.”

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Maybe you share that opinion. Maybe you don’t. To be honest, I don’t really care. That’s not because I don’t respect your right to have an opinion on that particular subject, but rather because I feel that subject is very much worthy of debate, and of differing opinions.

However, if your stance on this topic is one of joy because you feel that the role of YouTube personality shouldn’t be considered a real job, and that these people have been just coasting along off of a broken system, then I’m here to call you out for being wrong. On that subject, I leave no room for debate.

What you have to understand is this. The people who are potentially most affected by these policies (and the ones still to come) are the people who work hardest at what they do. They are not the ones that throw on a webcam, get a cheap mic, record their game play, and hastily throw it online with some poorly chosen metal music as bookends and call it a day. They are people who have learned genuine skills and talents, and have put forth 70-80 hours a week for years of their lives to get where they are today, which is a position to do what they love for a living.

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It’s true that many of them were using pre-existing content as the crux of their works, but since when was that a crime in and of itself? Many of those who are being harmed most by this had the proper permission to use the content they were featuring at the time they used it. To criticize them for doing so is not different that criticizing the “Mystery Science Theater” cast for just piggybacking off old movies, or to criticize “Siskel and Ebert” for just judging original works and making a living off of it. Hell, while you’re at it, you might as well damn every gaming website and blog who make their livings by reporting on the industry as opposed to solely creating original content.

Many people don’t do that, though. Why? What is the difference? Is it the YouTube format? Is that what makes people completely disregard the genuine hard work that went into these people getting to where they are at in life and instead dance on the grave of their dreams while its slowly being dug?

If so, that’s a real shame. Yes I admit the concept of a grown person essentially playing video games for a living doesn’t really qualify as the most practical, or certainly noble, of pursuits. However, it is what they love doing, and through a combination of ambition, luck, skill, ability, persistence, and most importantly hard work they found a way to use the very slim opening that YouTube afforded them, and turn it into a something they could not only live off of, but take pride in.

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There was a time when that kind of ambition and recklessness was admired and rewarded. It wasn’t always rewarded with financial gain mind you, but spiritually it was the kind of action treated with respect and looked upon for inspiration to make more of yourself and to retain the belief that with the right combination of work and passion you too could make something better for yourself, and maybe even achieve your dreams.

And now that same effort is being mocked. Maybe by only a minute portion of the jaded and uninformed (or possibly just the usual trolls), but even then that is too many. The idea that you are not a master of your own fate, and rather a slave to some idea of how things may be is a mental poison that is corrupting this world a little more each day and can in no way be tolerated by anyone with a shred of hope and life left in them.

Call out these YouTube personalities all you want for the quality of their work. Critique them, question them, or just ignore them entirely if you choose. But never, ever, deny those that truly deserve it respect for the work they put in to get where they are and their willingness to aim for something greater regardless of whether or not it was through traditional means.

Do that, and you might as well deny all of those born without a silver spoon in their mouth the right to eat.

The Biggest Games Still to Come In 2013

As much as I love “GTA V” (which, if you were wondering, is more than waking up to all the presents you wanted for the year on a white Christmas morning), trying to find video game news not related to Rockstar’s magnum opus is becoming quite the epic adventure itself.

Since the ghosts of video game present are a little tied up at the moment building their shooting skills (got to hit up Ammunation), to find something non “GTA” related to talk about, we’ll have to look towards the future.

It’s been something of an odd year for video games as even though it has seen some of the most high quality games in recent memory, they all seem to have been released early on, rather than continuing the traditional holiday season release rush. As such, while we may have a pretty good idea how the game of the year talks will shape up, here are some of the biggest games still left to get excited about, once your “GTA” addiction has subsided.

Watch Dogs

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What was one of the most touted games on the video game horizon has slipped a little bit in hype due to some questionable current gen graphics shown in a recent gameplay video, and something of a media silence since the last E3 showing, but still remains the biggest name left in 2013.

It’s easy to say that its got an even tougher path to glory in a post “GTA V” world, but while it may be an open world game, it’s unique hacker mechanics and the possibilities they provide when it comes to interacting with the world in previously unexplored ways, makes “Watch Dogs” more of an original superhero style game in the vein of “Crackdown” or “Infamous.”

Obviously when you’re mentioned in the company of such titles  you’ve got some raised expectations to try to clear, but so far “Watch Dogs” looks primed to provide a unique and memorable experience at the least.

Batman: Arkham Origins

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While “Origins” initially drew concern from fans who were unsure if the “Arkham” name could maintain its level of excellence away from developer Rocksteady, the more and more we discover about this game, the easier it is to get excited for it.

Drawing more design cues from the “Mega Man” series than any previous “Arkham” installments, “Origins” will see the dark knight take on some of the highest profile members of his rouge gallery on his never ending quest to save Gotham City. Though it serves as a prequel to the high profile original titles, “Origins” looks to  take Batman games in an interesting new direction that mixes old school gaming ideas with previous series features, and some fresh ideas (including an intriguing multiplayer mode), to form a best of all worlds experience.

Like “Watch Dogs,” this ones has some lofty goals  to live up to, but appears to be coming together well.

Beyond Two Souls

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Continuing the trend of wild card games that could really go either way on the quality scale, this spiritual successor to “Heavy Rain” is already causing some seriously divided discussion.

“Beyond Two Souls” continues to look like a different game every time we see it and, even as more and more of the game’s basic plot becomes clear, remains shrouded in mystery regarding what the overall product will look like and play like. We do know that fans of “Heavy Rain” will be happy to hear that it retains the interactive film gameplay of that title, while detractors will no doubt roll their eyes at the same news.

Quantic Dream has proven that they know how to create a game that differentiates itself from every other on the market, and can get people talking, with their distinctive style of game design. While it would be easy then to say that you can use your reaction to their previous games as a gauge for how excited to be towards this one, given the ambitious and exciting nature of “Beyond,” it may well be worth a trip outside of your comfort zone.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

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As someone who suffered through the dreadful “South Park” games of the PS1 and N64 days, its hard to imagine that an adaption of the influential animated series could actually prove to be something worth getting excited for.

Yet that is exactly the situation I find myself in. Surviving the closure of THQ, “Stick of Truth” has continued to look better and better with every showing. In marrying the series with basic RPG elements, developer Obsidian Entertainment has found the perfect outlet to showcase the deep cast of memorable characters, and ever expanding list of scenarios and worlds the show has crafted during its long run. Their execution of the source material’s style and humor has been dead on so far and, given the developer’s track record with RPG games, there’s more and more reason to get excited for the possibilities.

The only question now is if the game will actually honor its 2013 release date. If so, don’t be surprised if this ends up being a dark horse on some game of the year lists.

Among the “GTA V” Multiplayer Celebration, A Nagging Worry Remains

Try and deny “GTA V” its applause for the recent full reveal of its online mode, and you’ll be left arms to your side amid an explosion of ovation that the announcement deserves. Ever since “GTA III,” gamers have dreamed of “GTA” online, and the reveal trailer showcases a mode that is everything you could possibly imagine and dreamed of when it comes to the concept, and then some.

However, there is a catch.

See, if you give any number of players guns and put them in an online world, their natural inclination will be to find each one another and shoot until those who are not them are dead. While that is certainly an element of the “GTA V” multiplayer experience (the trailer is largely focused on PvP confrontations) it’s clear that the better intentions of this mode are instead focused on group play and exploration of not only the landscape, but of the potential scenarios that can be created within it.

Simply put, asking a group of 16 (likely) strangers to jump into the “GTA” world and consider violence against each other to be a secondary measure, is asking a hell of a lot. Now that isn’t to say it’s impossible, or won’t occur after a period of time where everyone gets bored shooting each other, but it does mean the better and more exciting elements of this newish type of multiplayer design may not always be present in every session, and may only be accessible should you choose to form a tight bond with like minded players or just happen to get lucky and draw a server of those individuals randomly.

I’d like to believe that gamers will approach “GTA V” in a manner befitting the outside the box design the online element looks to provide, but there is a pessimistic urge honed by years of experience in online communities built off major release titles that makes me believe otherwise, and worries that a genuine effort to provide something truly great may be squandered by the very people it was built for.

I’m not that one standing sulkingly amidst the applause towards “GTA V’s” multiplayer mode, and in fact nurse sore hands from joining the commotion as feverishly as any, but the question no longer seems to be is Rockstar capable of delivering the type of online “GTA” world we’ve always wished for, but rather if the hordes of loyal fans capable of fully embracing it.

New California Based Service Shows There is in Fact One Thing You Can’t Get Delivered in NYC

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Let’s not beat around the bush. The arcade scene is dead enough to replace disco as a cliché, and frankly deserves to be. Most of them were designed to pump more money from you than any villainized “freemium” game ever would, and the world of video games have progressed positively in a way that the scene would have never allowed for should it have remained the dominate form of gaming.

But dammit, I still do love them. To this day getting three friends and playing “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a guaranteed good time that may be bested by modern games, but is never really duplicated.

There may be good reasons why arcades are no longer prominent, but there is no good reason why the still entertaining machines should be relegated to ironic obscurity in hipster bars or the rare pizza joint and laundromat.

Fortunately there is a west coast company that agrees, and are providing a service that allows you to rent an arcade unit with unlimited play for $75 a month, with additional charges coming for multiple units. A subscription based service, you can keep getting new cabinets as long as you’re a member, and can even switch out machines mid-month if you’d like.

Currently available machines are based on your location, but examples include classics like “Pac-Man,” “TMNT,” “Galaga,” “Golden Tee,” and even one of the arcade holy grails, “The Simpsons.”

Unfortunately there is a limited area service, so many will not have the chance to experience one of the best opportunities to properly enjoy all-time great arcade games in their most ideal format without trekking out to a rare arcade spot, or paying prices that can exceed $2,000 for a home machine.

Hopefully All You Can Arcade experiences a profitable level of success then and spreads to more areas, as the look on your friends faces when they show up to see “The Simpsons” in your living room is well worth the asking price.

When Looking for Proof the Hype is Real About the Next Grand Theft Auto, Look at the Little Things

“Grand Theft Auto IV” almost had to be called “Grand Theft Auto IV.”

What I mean is, considering it was for a new generation of consoles, and featured an exceptionally long development cycle, calling it “GTA: Liberty City” or something similar would have never gone over well with the folks at Rockstar, nor the fans.

However obligatory the name might have been though, the final product never really felt right as being the true evolution to the world changing “GTA III.” It was abundantly clear that all of the focus went into creating Liberty City, and even though that still stands as one of the most impressive accomplishments of video game engineering, the rest of the game suffered from half-baked or just plain bad gameplay ideas.

While it’s true then that “GTA IV” pleased many fans and critics, there were an equal number of people waiting for the real successor to the series.

Based on the recent internet stopping footage that Rockstar released of “GTA V,” that may be soon upon us.

You’d think that there wouldn’t be anything more to say about the next “GTA” until it actually comes out, but the first gameplay trailer of the series proved that as much as we may think we know about the game based on previous information, hearing about the features and seeing them actually come together are completely different things.

Because when you see the game truly in action, it’s clear that Rockstar is aiming to create a game that doesn’t just appear to be alive on the surface, but is a living, breathing, and (most importantly) evolving thing. Sure major aspects like the three character approach appear to work better than we could have anticipated, and new or returning core gameplay features like hunting and purchasing property/stock look incredible, but what really amazes are the little touches.

It’s the things that only the most eagle-eyed of viewers caught like individual weapon stats, or how the mini-map changes based on your current transportation. It’s the new pot shop you can patron, it’s the clever names of the tattoos, and it’s definitely the fact your hand shaped mouse cursor in the game is in fact a middle finger.

Those are the things that “GTA IV” was missing. It’s those aspects that show Rockstar knows how to make a sandbox game on advanced hardware, and are now working to perfect an actual “GTA” experience, and not a tech demo wearing its mask but possessing none of its heart and soul.

When looking for proof that “GTA V” is going to be a game-changer, you may be tempted to point to the tantalizing seconds of footage that reveal a true “GTA” style multiplayer mode. However, for me, the fact the NASDAQ parody stock market is called BAWSAQ is real proof that Rockstar is back to having fun with the series, and in the process advancing its identity.

Celebrate the 4th of July With Some of the Best Revolution Games Ever

Like many holidays that offer you the ability to shamelessly eat and drink as much as you want while multi-colored explosions fill the sky for your amusement, it can be easy to forget the real meaning of the 4th of July.

It’s a day where Americans celebrate not the attainment of independence, but the declaration of it. Before we could earn it though, we needed a revolution, which meant lives would be lost, heroes made, and ultimately one side being written as the victor.

Revolution is one of the oldest story concepts out there, but for whatever reason it doesn’t find its way into video games often as a central plotline. Fortunately though, the revolution games available offer enough entertainment to compensate for the lack of overall entries.

If you’re looking to celebrate the day Americn declared revolution through games then, do so with some of the best revolution games available.

Freedom Fighters

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The most entertaining revolution game of all time? You could make the argument.

Freedom Fighters” is the story of a plumber swept up into a revolution against the Russian empire that, in this timeline, has been growing in strength since the end of WWII. The gunplay, squad mechanics, and varied objectives are all great, but where “Freedom Fighters” really made its name was its presentation and environment. This is basically “Red Dawn” the video game, and little touches like Russian broadcasts that portray your actions as terrorist activities really sell the world being created.

“Freedom Fighters” didn’t get a fair chance on the market when it was released, and considering how hard to find it is now, is likely to remain cimrinally underrated. Should you ever get the chance though, be sure to experience it.

The Saboteur

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Continuing our underrated theme (which is oddly true of many games about revolution) “The Saboteur” didn’t make a huge impact upon release, but has since become appreciated as a hidden gem.

This is due in large part to the game’s graphics (black and white with splashes of color) and plotline that sees you look for revenge as a member of the resistance in Nazi occupied France. Certain elements like the stealth sections are underdeveloped, and overall the gameplay is leagues behind “Freedom Fighters” or many other titles, but “Saboteur” has style to spare, and provides a memorable experience because of it.

The Just Cause Series

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“Just Cause” is one of the few games to really develop an equally entertaining franchise based on a revolution plot, and as such both games get mentioned here.

Whether you’re being dropped into the fictional island of San Esperito or Panau, both games provide a similar objectives, as you play Rico Rodriguez, a man tasked with starting a revolution against oppressive warlords. To do so, you undertake tasks for various groups that could all play a part in the coup to come, and also engage in some good old fashioned anarchy of your own accord.

Similar to the “GTA” games in structure, “Just Cause” made its name by having absolutely huge worlds with loads of crazy stuff to do. It’s the perfect set up, and is executed with bravado.

 Jagged Alliance 2

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As rare as revolution games are, we unfortunately got even less squad based strategy games based around revolution, which is a real shame considering how well the idea fits. Fortunately “Jagged Alliance 2″ may have perfected the idea before it went dormant.

Featuring action similar to the old “XCOM” games, “Jagged Alliance 2” is a complex and incredibly deep title that sees you take the role of a hired gun for the exiled leader of a former Monarch empire, as he tries to take down his betraying wife, and reclaim what was his. Along the way you’ll gather mercenaries, train them, and take on odd jobs between main objectives to finance everything.

“Jagged Alliance 2” hasn’t aged a day and is just as large and rewarding as ever. Grab it on sale at Good Old Games, or anytime at all.

Republic: The Revolution

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Republic”, the most ambitious revolution game ever made, generated some serious hype before it was released, only to be met with some deserved criticism for its gameplay shortcomings, particularly when it came to control issues and its steep learning curve.

However there is no game before or since like “Republic,” as it offers the chance to start a revolution from the ground floor, and focuses more on the political and strategy side rather than action. As you might imagine, it takes a lot of effort and planning to truly execute a successful revolution, and you’ll have to devote hours navigating menus to even make progress towards that objective.

“Republic” isn’t a perfect game, or even a great one, but for strategy hounds, its one of a kind.

The Top Five Things I Want to See in WWE 2K14

As an old school fan of pro wrestling, I’ve always found a guilty pleasure in the WWE video games.

Sure they’re great multiplayer titles that offer enough freedom and modes for anyone to lose hours to, but in the end they are games meant for the fans.

To that end though, there have always been some nagging problems and missing features that have kept the games from being the ultimate fan service to the faithful of that most bizarre sports entertainment hybrid. While there are a few larger issues that could definitely be improved (*cough* for the love of God better A.I. *cough*), these are five smaller things I’d love to see in the recently announced WWE 2K14 and beyond.

5. Create-a-Submission

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The best thing about the WWE games is their ability to allow you to customize just about anything to an absolutely insane amount of detail. Want a 500 lb woman with a mullet to come out to “Freebird” while wearing a custom championship belt to defend at your own custom PPV? You can do that.

However one aspect of the game, submission moves, have always gotten the shaft. Sure, it’d be great if they were more dynamic and destructive than they are now, but realistically I’d just love the option to create my own maneuvers, much like you can create finishers. It would require a little more “outside the box” programing considering you’d have to play around with ragdoll physics to make it work, but it’s the lack of those kind of dynamic options that have made these games feel stale recently.

Submissions may not be a huge part of wrestling, but they are there and the next WWE game would do well to cater more towards fans of them.

4. Smoother Chain Moves

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Chain wrestling is a term used in pro-wrestling to specify wrestlers who are able to flow from one maneuver to another without really much pause between them. While popular amongst high-fliers, more and more wrestlers have incorporated this exciting style into their matches.

The WWE games have always been lacking in this department however. It used to be excusable as the technology of the time only permitted for the “Grapple, do a move. Grapple, do a move” system, but we’re well beyond that tech now, and are still subject to the same plodding style. It would be great if there was more situation awareness to the controls, so you wouldn’t have to experience superfluous, and often janky, animations when stringing together simple moves.

It would admittedly take a complete overhaul to fix this entirely, but it would be nice if there was more of an element of this in the next title.

3.  Better Commentary

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For years, wrestling games had no audio commentary, so when the feature was finally incorporated, most were so grateful they excused the repetitive and dull nature of it.

Yet, much like animation, here we are years later and still subject to the same repetitive and dull commentary. It’s bad enough when you hear the same lines over and over, but when you play the new games annually, you rarely hear any lines not used in previous installments. There is a level of that in all sports games, but I’ve never heard one as bad as the WWE games, and it really takes you out of the environment, or forces you to turn the commentary off entirely.

While dynamic commentary and more realistic banter would be great, really all anyone is asking here is for some fresh dialogue in each new installment, and some less mechanical “one take” readings.

2. A More Historic Roster

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Along with its heavy customization options, the thing fans have appreciated most about the WWE games are the comprehensive rosters, which feature not just a host of modern day superstars, but legends of the past as well.

One thing that’s always bugged me though is that the legends rarely go beyond WWE stars of the past, and even then don’t often go past the Hulk Hogan era.

Granted this may be a licensing issue, but considering the WWE basically owns the rights to the majority of wrestling history, its time the roster reflects lesser celebrated stars of times gone past from other organizations. Sure, not all fans may jump for joy at the chance to play as, say, Buddy Rodgers, but no one will complain about more wrestlers on the roster, and the old-school fans would love it.

1. WAR GAMES!!!!!

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The War Games match sees two rings joined surrounded by a large cage. Two teams of 4-5 enter one at a time at set intervals until all men are in the ring. From there, the first man to make another from the opposing team quit or submit wins it for his team.

It’s the most unique and incredible match type ever devised for pro wrestling, and has, to my knowledge, never been in a video game. While a WCW creation, considering that WWE owns their rights now, and even have a War Games DVD on the way this year, now would be the perfect time for the most wanted of all match types to finally make its debut.

Someone please…make this happen.

Landmark Video Games and Their Film Equivalents

If you haven’t heard, Empire recently broke the embargo date for their “Last of Us” review and, though it has already been taken down, leaks of the review reveal impressions as glowing as could possibly be, including a quote that the title could give gaming its “Citizen Kane moment.”

While that remains to be seen, that quote does bring up an interesting point that sometimes games and films run parallel to each other not in their themes or plots, but in the impact they leave, and the greater ideas they exhibit.

So even though some may initially appear to be as far apart as can be, here are five video games with historically speaking film equivalents.

The Game – Braid

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The Film – Reservoir Dogs

What They Have In Common:

There were indie games before “Braid,” just as there were indie movies before “Reservoir Dogs.” Yet both usually come to mind first when considering the word indie, mostly because they each achieved a level of success across every measurable aspect that was unprecedented for independent titles, and opened the door for smaller creators to get their films and games out there with a legitimate chance to make it that simply didn’t exist before.

The Game – E.T.

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The Film – Plan 9 From Outer Space

What They Have In Common:

Hey, they’re not all great.

In fact some are just the worst. Both “Plan 9” and “E.T.” are usually the poster children for the “worst ever” argument, even if “Plan 9” didn’t become the scapegoat for the fall of its medium, nor did it get buried in a New Mexico landfill. The real reason that these two are siblings though is because despite their image as the worst, they actually aren’t. Instead both are so bad they have achieved a cult status greater than their actual quality should have allowed for.

The Game – Grand Theft Auto III

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The Film – Easy Rider

What They Have In Common:

The American dream, violence, rebellion, controversy, and freedom are all themes prevalent in “Easy Rider,” and “GTA III.” Both challenged the mainstream conscious with their brazen attitudes and controversial style, yet both would usher in new eras of thinking where suddenly the establishment was no longer what had to be, and anything seemed possible. Hell, both even had rocking soundtracks, and the “GTA” series would later feature “Easy Rider’s” stars Peter Fonda, and Dennis Hopper.

The Game – Myst

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The Film – 2001: A Space Odyssey

What They Have In Common:

It’s not easy to make an artistically acclaimed and financially successful work that forces people to reexamine their perceptions, but “Myst” and “2001” did just that. Experiencing either was a watermark moment that made you expand your mind, yet both also achieved some unusual financial success considering their ambition. Need further proof? Both also happen to be very confusing, both featured validation of technological innovations (“2001’s” special effects, and “Myst’s” CD-ROM format), and both honestly haven’t aged that well.

The Game – Super Mario Bros.

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The Film – Star Wars

What They Have In Common:

Sharing a theme with other entrants in this article, “Star Wars” and “Super Mario” were not the first of their kind, which in this instance means blockbusters.

However, they are both icons of the word blockbuster, because of the impact they made. “Star Wars” would usher in a new era where films were financially viable beyond just box office receipts, and “Super Mario” showed gaming could be successful once more. Even though both would be surpassed by their true successors (“Empire Strikes Back” and “Super Mario Bros. 3”), there is a mystique and undeniable quality regarding these works that makes them not only landmarks, but have maintained their ability to be successfully introduced to new generations.

New Videos Show that Virtual Reality Suddenly isn’t so Far Away

If you haven’t been following, the oculus rift is an amazing new virtual reality device that will allow the gamer to achieve a sort of free look effect while playing a game. It’s not quite the vision of virtual reality that we pictured from sci-fi, but it does represent the most realistic step towards that vision that video gaming has ever seen.

Now that early units have begun shipping to early kickstarter backers, we’re starting to get some pretty interesting footage of the device showing everyone exactly why that is.

The first comes to us from a gamer playing the free running “Mirror’s Edge.”

“Mirror’s Edge” is the exact type of game that people dreamed about when they heard of the oculus rift, and also the type they worried if the device was capable of handling. From that video, I’m going to say that concern has been addressed triumphantly

In fact, I pretty much just have to say “wow.”  While we don’t know how much time was invested in learning to play the game, it doesn’t appear that the user in that video misses much of a step with the rift, and instead the only times he seems disoriented are when he’s in a particularly narrow movement space, admiring the rift’s ability to put a new perspective on the game, or when participating in an awe inspiring free fall which serves as the definitive climax to the video.

While it’s difficult to gain the same sensation that the rift supposedly inspires just by watching a video, it doesn’t take much imagination when viewing that video to see that it has potential to lend a truly unprecedented interactive experience to select titles. Of course when you’re talking creative and imaginative experiences, nothing tops the next video.

In what has to be the most incredible demonstration of interactive gaming ever filmed, the person in that video is using an omni-directional treadmill, which can read and feed your movements to a video game character, and pairs it with the oculus rift to play “Team Fortress 2″ in a manner more in line with the virtual reality experience we’ve all dreamed of, albeit in a much more exhausting manner than previously considered.

The other thing that video shows is that there is a possible future for VR gaming, which is an idea that has never really been given an honest attempt or chance. Whether or not the oculus rift is the device we all look back to when identifying the true turning point of the concept, even the earliest and roughest footage shows a VR device that does something no other has truly managed to do yet.

Impress.

On So Many Levels, “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon” Is Brilliant

I’ve never played “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.” I’ve never spoken to anyone who has, I’ve never been in the same vicinity of a playable version of it, and my only real exposure to the game is the spectacular 15 minute demo IGN put out recently.

Yet I can tell you without shame in my heart, or doubt in my words that I love “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.” Truly love it.

While I realized this the moment that I heard “Long Tall Sally” blasting from a helicopter stereo in a glorious tribute to the greatest sci-fi action movie of all time (“Predator”), it’s not even the game’s love of everything sci-fi 80s that stirs these emotions in me. Rather it’s something deeper, more real.

It’s because “Blood Dragon” reminds me that add-on content doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but can actually be fun.

Too often downloadable content is seen as a necessity, or worse a money grab. “Blood Dragon” is the antithesis of that idea. It was the brainchild of a group of developers who saw the opportunity to release the necessary DLC content for “Far Cry 3” as something more than an obligation to bang out some new items, or a side story in the same environment, but instead they took the chance to take all of the original game’s well developed mechanics, and use them as the foundation of something that would not only be creatively satisfying, but that could be as enjoyable to make as it would be enjoyable to play.

In this case it just happened to be a tribute to the world of over the top 80s video games, science fiction, and cartoons. Every aspect of the game is dipped deep into the well of 80s nostalgia, as the cutscense are straight out of an 80’s NES game, there’s a VCR filter over most of the proceedings, and the amount of film references is nerdgasmic. Seriously, if you took a sip of watered down light beer for every “Terminator” reference in the demo, you’d die of alcohol poisoning three minutes in. It’s like the proper video game adaptation of so many franchises we never got, all rolled into one.

But again this isn’t about the content of “Blood Dragon” specifically. It’s about how all other developers need to take notice of “Blood Dragon,” and remind themselves that the moment they feel bored doing DLC, they are probably doing it wrong. Before I saw “Blood Dragon” I honestly never considered that DLC could be a good thing for gaming, but just like “Bioshock Infinite” did for sequels, “Blood Dragon” shows the benefit of preserving the mechanics of a great game, but changing everything else to produce something that doesn’t give you more of what came before, but something more original that reminds you why you loved that game in the first place.

So while the neon infused hyper retro world of “Blood Dragon” should be enough to get anyone to play it (especially as you don’t even need “Far Cry 3” to do so,  making it more of a standalone add-on), the real reason you should pick it up when it is released on May 1st is to show developers that gamers are tired of downloads that just put armor on horses, and instead crave expansions that actually expand and explore the possibilities of a franchise.

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