Rise Up! Rise Up!

Over the last week I’ve been approached by three different people about starting some sort of gaming social movement, similar to #PS4NoDRM, to let the industry know that we won’t stand for having our games ruined by microtransactions.  I am obviously very honored and humbled that people think that I could have a positive effect on gaming but I don’t think this is a spam-twitter kind of issue. I also am moving across the country in a couple of months and am too busy to lead something like this as it takes far more time to keep momentum going than it seems.

I do have advice for anyone who wants to take up the mantle. First off you need to realize that you are dealing with human beings and not soulless corporations.  If you do send tweets to higher-ups at Sony/Microsoft/EA/Activision/Etc you need to be polite.  Think about your own time on twitter or any internet forum… if someone opens the conversation with “listen you goddamn greedy asshole” are you likely to even finish reading what that person has to say?  Are you going to empathize with them?  Of course not.  Kill them with kindness.

I also personally believe the “spam twitter with a hashtag” well has dried up. It’s been attempted many times since #PS4NoDRM and has not had any success.  Nintendo didn’t give a crap about the region lock twitter movement, for instance.  So if you are going to get their attention on this issue, social media needs to be apart of it, of course, but not the entire thing. There are many forces in gaming right now that don’t even realize they are a force. I talk to people in development nearly everyday and they are acutely aware of what is being said about their games’ on NeoGAF/Reddit/N4G/Gamefaqs/4chan/etc. So keeping the topic of microtransactions going at these places is of utmost importance to getting through to them that they are harming their games.

The main reason why the #PS4NoDRM movement was so successful was because the media picked it up. Spamming the hashtag definitely got their attention but we ended up getting covered on over 200 websites and I was even interviewed in the Wall Street Journal.  This is exactly the type of bad press that they don’t want – even if I was incredibily polite.  Especially because I was so incredibly polite. So getting the media involved is important… and right now they do care and you need to reward them.  When Kotaku or Joystiq or whoever posts an article that is critical of microtransactions don’t just read the excerpts on GAF or Reddit – CLICK ON THE SITE!  These sites want clicks, if you give them clicks on certain topics they will keep going back to that topic until the clicks dry up.  This is the easiest way to encourage the press to keep covering this topic.  Likewise, many gaming personalities like Jim Sterling, Boogie, and Adam Sessler have been speaking about this topic quite a bit lately.  Even if you don’t like these guys usually give them the clicks, send them some tweets of encouragement, try to get them to keep the fight up.  Youtubers like Angry Joe were *VERY* instrumental in the #NoDRM thing.  These guys have influence.

If someone comes along and makes a website and starts working on contacting the media  – awesome, that will help.  It’s a lot of work but extremely rewarding.  Me and about 10 guys spent almost two weeks using every spare second we had in our day reaching out to the media to talk about #NoDRM.  If this infrastructure doesn’t arise that doesn’t mean the fight is lost though.  Keep talking about it on forums.  As each new game comes out with microtransactions make posts about how they ruin the game.  Drop the system wars… I know Forza vs Gran Turismo is bloodsport for some of you… but if you love Gran Turismo and microtransactions are ruining the game you need to be honest about it and make your voice heard.  Politely.

Be persistent.  Get the press involved.  The more these companies are shamed (politely!!!) about their policies the more likely they will be to change them.  And, of course, vote with your wallet.

 

 

 

Doddcast 219 – Xbox One… Grisham Style

you_re-doing-it-wrong

He didn’t plug in his Kinect.  He didn’t plug in his cable TV.  He doesn’t want to snap apps.  Rich bought a Xbox One purely as a gaming machine.  See what he thinks.  Also – Tearaway is amazing.

Music – One by Aimee Mann, No One Loves Me and Neither Do I by Them Crooked Vultures.

Here is where you can stream it.

You can also grab it off of iTunes.

Reach me at:  petedodd@gmail.com

Double K.O.

Player One Podcast

Check Platform Nation

Pete’s Twitter

Rich’s Twitter

Doddcast 218 – The PS4 Has Landed

maxresdefault

 

It definitely has not been the smoothest landing but the PS4 has arrived.  Rich and Pete delve into the functionality, games, and defects that the PS4 brought with it.

Music:  Ready to Start by Arcade Fire, Ballad Of A Comeback Kid by The New Pornographers

Here is where you can stream it.

You can also grab it off of iTunes.

Reach me at:  petedodd@gmail.com

Hire me.

Double K.O.

Player One Podcast

Check Platform Nation

Pete’s Twitter

Rich’s Twitter

Why (most) reviewers are wrong about Knack

Knack isn’t a perfect game. It’s not a game that will make you a fan of a genre that you don’t care about. If you loved games like Jak and Daxter or Ratchet and Clank you will find plenty to like in Knack even though it never quite hits those heights. If you hated Crash/Sly/Jak/Ratchet this game will not win you over; in fact it will probably make you hate the genre even further. My point, however, is that fans of the genre wouldn’t throw 9s or 10s at this game. It’s very good, as I will argue, but it has issues. 3/10 on Joystiq is completely fucking absurd though. As is a 59 on metacritic.

Knack is deceptively simple. You have a few buttons to use. You have a few power moves you can only use when you charge crystals (which takes some exploration). You beat every enemy by punching them. If you aren’t a fan of 3D platformer/brawlers this all sounds really simple. Early on in the game it backs up the idea that it is simple. Here’s an enemy… punch him. Here is a bigger one, punch him three times. Here is an enemy with a laser moving around on the floor; jump over the laser and punch him. Simple stuff.

My opinion is this where many reviewers stopped thinking about how to play the game and I don’t completely blame them. If you play a shooter you need to learn how to aim/shoot/take cover/flank. That’s it. Maybe at some point someone will come out with super armor that takes more bullets to kills, or if the game is really complex you will have to stun them and then shoot them. With Knack, however, they keep mixing up how to defeat every enemy. Even with just a couple of buttons the timing becomes different, the things to avoid become vastly different, and sometimes there is a guy who attacks in a way so out of the blue that it makes you hop out of your seat. This is classic platformer/brawler gameplay and it is mixed up so perfectly.  If there is something I can praise without reservation about Knack it’s the pacing of the game.  You fight one guy, he is tough, you figure out his pattern and you beat him.  After that you fight two of them, you learn how to dodge between them and you defeat them.  Ok – lessons learned!  You know how to beat that guy.  The following room has that guy, but it has 2 other enemies that you fought earlier.  You’re trying to recall the pattern to each of them…  you’re trying to figure out how their attacks will interact with each other.  It’s hard.  You die.  As you die, however, you realize what went wrong and there is no way you are quitting the game.  You’re going to kick the crap out of that room.

The problem is, if you consider it a problem, is that if you keep banging your head against each encounter you will eventually build up enough of your crystal meter to do a special move to kill everyone.  It takes much longer and is not enjoyable in the slightest; but if you just want to do the same attack pattern over and over you will eventually get through it – many, many, hours after the rest of the world does.  From what I can tell this is what most reviewers did.  They talk about the combat being repetitive.  That statement is ABSOLUTELY INSANE to me.  Play a shooter, you hold down L2 – put the reticule over their head or chest – and pull R2.  That’s the absolute definition of repetitive.  Every single enemy in Knack requires a different strategy to defeat them. Or you can just keep beating your head against the wall and the game will let you through out of pity. A reviewer who has two next-gen launch lineups to get through in these few weeks will be frustrated as hell.  Those of us that buy the game will enjoy these aspects of the game.

Knack has issues. The dialogue and characters, outside of Knack himself, are mediocre.  They aren’t awful, you likely won’t hate any of them, but you aren’t falling in love with anyone in this game either.  The graphics are exceptionally clear and everything looks really good but the worlds can be a bit static. There are things you can destroy but there are missing touches like trees swaying in the breeze or even birds flying overhead.  Like I said earlier, this game isn’t knocking Jak or Ratchet from their perch. It’s a mechanically solid 3d platformer/brawler, it looks good, it sounds good, it’s a lot of fun…. but it is not reinventing the genre. This isn’t “next-gen” 3d platforming. Hell, it isn’t even last gen as this genre peaked on the PS2.

The press hates this game, generally. That’s fine, I’m not really looking to take on the press at large. All I am hoping to convey is that Knack is worth a go if you like this type of game. If you don’t believe me watch a stream sometime. The most common comment when I stream it is “Wow this game looks awesome, why did it get hammered in reviews?”

I don’t know… but streaming being built into the PS4 and Xbox One may mean the end of looking to the press for reviews. If they weren’t terrified after how off the mark they were with Mass Effect 3… this game and others being streamed, and enjoyed, may render them moot. This isn’t system wars stuff either… next week there will be Xbox One games that gets murdered by the press and people will watch streams and think “wait, that actually looks cool.” Toodles, gaming press.

PS4 Remote Play Fix

So the PS4 launch has had its fair share of problems so far this weekend and thankfully I’ve avoided most of them.  I have, however, had trouble with remote play. This problem doesn’t seem particularly wide-spread but there are a couple of people in my twitter feed that have the issue as well and after some tinkering and brainstorming I think I finally found the culprit.  Now, of course, there could be many reasons for faulty Remote Play like a bum wifi in your vita or ps4, interference from something outside, etc.  But if you had the same problem as me there is a solution.

To make a long story short what I believe was causing my remote play to be laggy/disconnect was what channel the vita and my router were broadcasting on.  This doesn’t explain why it didn’t work through my router… but it now works through my router also.  Who knows, electronics are confusing.
So first start with the vita.  Go to settings and you will see this page.  Click on Network.

vita1

 

Once in network you will see the following menu, click on Wifi Settings.

vita2

 

The wifi settings will show the open networks around you (and whatever network you are connected to, if you are connected to a network).  Scroll down and notice at the bottom that the channel is set to auto.

vita3

 

When you touch that you can set it to Auto/1/6/11.  I decided to go with channel 6.  You may need to experiment here though as maybe someone nearby has a router on channel 6.  Six worked for me though.

vita4

 

So that’s what it looked like when I was finished.  I backed out and rebooted the Vita; I’m not certain you need to reboot it but rebooting never hurts.
Next up I changed settings on my router.  This may not have been necessary but it does ensure the channels don’t get crossed.  Accessing your router will be different for everyone.  Google it if you don’t know how.  But this is roughly what you want to look for when you are in your router settings.   First off, find wireless.

router1

 

Once you get into Wireless you will probably find that the channel is set to auto.

router2

 

I changed it from auto to 3 as that wasn’t one of the adhoc channels on the vita (remember that said 1, 6, or 11 and I had chosen 6).

router3

 

I saved the settings and rebooted the router.  I have since had a few hours of completely flawless remote play (both direct connected and through the router).  Let me know in the comments if this worked for you.  If it didn’t and you find a different fix let me know and I’ll add it to this post giving you full credit, of course.

 

Hypomania!!!!!!

Hypomania  is a mood state characterized by persistent and pervasive elevated (euphoric) or irritable mood, as well as thoughts and behaviors that are consistent with such a mood state. It is most often associated with the bipolar spectrum. Many who are in a hypomanic state are extremely energetic, talkative, confident, and assertive. They may have a flight of ideas and feel creative. Many people also experience signature hypersexuality. While hypomania often generates productivity and creativity, it can become troublesome if the subject engages in risky behaviors. It is generally less severe than full-blown mania. –Wikipedia

You all are crazy.  I know this because I’ve been watching you.  I’ve been reading your threads.  I’ve been reading your tweets.  I’ve also been joining you in being crazy myself. We are two days away from the launch of the PS4 and 9 days away from the launch of the Xbox One.  This is Christmas for an eight year old times a thousand because we are all lunatics about videogames.  You may think you aren’t, but you can’t fool me.  I read your posts!

This morning reviews started pouring in for the PS4 system and launch games.  They all have been extremely predictable yet everyone is losing their shit over them.  The problem is that we are all in a state of hypomania right now.  We are completely jacked up on launch hype that we are one second euphoric, another second paranoid, and another second aggravated.  Destructoid gave Killzone a 9?  FUCK YES THAT GAME IS GOING TO BE SO GOOD!  Hmm, Eurogamer gave it a 7.  Maybe it was rushed?  Is it going to suck?   Polygon gave it a 5?  HOLY SHIT GIES DOESN’T EVEN TRY TO HIDE HIS BIAS!

The thing that we all seem to forget when all of these reviews come out is that gaming reviews usually don’t tend to line up with our own experiences.  That’s why we usually dismiss them.  The press salivating over Mass Effect 3, throwing perfect scores at it like it was the second coming, and then we played it and…. holy shit what the hell were they thinking?  And remember when The Escapist gave Dragon Age 2 a 10/10?  DRAGON AGE 2!?!?  That game had seven areas total.  Holy shit.

Also, the metacritic for Nier, one of the better RPGs this gen, sits at a 67.  Meanwhile Final Fantasy XIII, a game universally hated by everyone (except for me), is at 83.  And to rub salt in the wounds even to me, FFXIII-2, which is better than XIII in every way, is a 79. Discussions pop up on every forum I’ve ever been to talking about how reviews don’t line up with users own experiences.  Reviews are, of course, opinions, but there also seems to be a bit of pandering that happens in the gaming press.  Whether it’s for clicks or a bias towards a certain company or what… it’s hard to tell sometimes (or in Polygon’s case… very easy to tell).  Most of the time we dismiss it.  I know on GAF and Reddit personally most people see reviews and go “ok, I’m going to wait to hear what you guys think” because you get to know people there, what their tastes are, you know they actually paid money for the game, etc.  You don’t need the bullshit filter that you need for major gaming sites.

There is also the hypocrisy of reviews that will drive you crazy if you pay too much attention.  Dragon’s Crown has women with huge tits?  6!  GTA V has women who nag, who fuck to become famous, and one woman whose entire appearance in the game was to be a receptacle of Trevor’s sperm…  10/10, will play again.  It’s satire, guys!

Basically my point is that we know the gaming press is awful. You know the gaming press is awful.  That’s why you get your info from other gamers at GAF or Reddit or whatever your site of choice is.  Somehow, though, when we reach the hypomania of a huge game release, or worse yet – a console launch…  we start to give credence to what the press has to say again.  PRE-ORDER CANCELED!  OMG SOMEONE GAVE KNACK A 3 I’M RETURNING IT!  Calm down.  A month ago anyone could have predicted that Knack was destined for mixed reviews, it’s a game that is designed for a specific niche.  If you aren’t in that niche you won’t like it.  You knew that, you thought it looked cool and you preordered/bought it.  Don’t go throwing things away or losing your mind because someone who was never going to like the game didn’t like the game.  That’s just silly.

Take a step back, calm down, do some deep breathing.  It’s a console launch.  It’s going to be fucking awesome!  Even terrible games are fun during launches.  By friday night you won’t even be thinking about the Metacritic for Resogun.  This is all just noise.  Try to tune it out the best you can.  And if you’re getting a Xbox One expect to go through the exact same thing next week.  Good luck.

Doddcast 217 – It’s not all drama

boyescharla

 

This week Rich and Pete discuss a heartwarming tale of industry folks being sweet.  We also delve into resolution, NBA (2k and Live), conjecture about the PS4 Launch Event and all other sorts of pre-launch hype.

Music:  Super Mario World’s ‘Super Mario Sleigh ride’ OC Remix – The OneUps,  The High Road by Broken Bells

Here is where you can stream it.

You can also grab it off of iTunes.

Reach me at:  petedodd@gmail.com

Hire me.

Double K.O.

Player One Podcast

Check Platform Nation

Pete’s Twitter

Rich’s Twitter