Indie Fallout 3-inspired movie in the works

I have long been saying that Fallout 3 was an amazing game, if not one of the best ever made. From the story line, to the creatures, to the post-apocalyptic  environment, the game play to the music (I cannot decide if “Mighty Mighty Man” is my favorite song, or if “I don’t want to set the world on fire” is ), to showing women have hair above their lip too… oh my lord, just talking about Fallout 3 gets me excited in a variety of ways.  It’s not just me though, that adores this game in a borderline fanatical way. Check out this fan movie inspired by Fallout 3 titled “Desert Story”:

[youtubevid id=”dw1Vh9Yzryo”]

You may be wondering why at the end of the film the two females didn’t go with the male hero, off into the wilderness. The Fallout 3 universe includes people who are not cookie – cutter good or bad, or who think logically- these two females decide to stay in their home. Most likely they were raped, mistrust all people except for themselves (because how could you get by in that world looking like they do without becoming prostitutes or sex slaves?) , and figure they’d be better off without the male hero.

If you want to be good in Fallout 3, you have to accept that sometimes you will save bad people from bad people, or saving people doesn’t necessarily influence their decisions in any way. Even if you saved two females,  that doesn’t mean they’d join your party. By staying with each other, the freed  “prostitutes”  are unintentionally feminist,  as opposed to the hero who is  intentionally feminist by treating the hookers as people.

I now have a small writer crush on Tim Pape  (why didn’t I think of this, dammit!).  Wild Gunmen has an interview with the Papes here, where it is revealed there will be 2 more episodes in the same vein, and a feature length movie that is already “partially funded” titled Black Velvet.  (oh, what would I do to be cast in this?!)  For another interview with the Papes, check out Co-Optimus.com, where the Papes mention the next two short installments are inspired by Zelda and The Princess Bride (<3!!!!!).

Another fan movie worth checking out is Law Abiding Engineer. Suck on that, Ebert!


My FarmVille Epiphany

FarmVille

That duck looks too happy. Image via Wikipedia

When I first saw FarmVille on Facebook, I immediately shunned it. At one moment in time, it felt like all of  my female Facebook friends were doing it,  so therefore I wanted to have nothing to do with it. I took the saying “If  all your friends are doing it, would you?” to heart. I am a skeptic of the unanimously popular.

I freely admit that as a grown up, this now makes me a jerk.  What can I do though?  It’s my initial gut reaction. Also, inside my head, there’s a 15 year old male gamer,  scoffing at the farm game, and probably questioning my sexuality. Real gamers don’t play FarmVille, right? Even if you’re playing for an hour a day, every day, you could never EVER be a “gamer” because you played Farmville. Those are the facts of gaming life, I am pretty sure.

A couple days ago, I happened to read “Nice Guys, Stressed Ladies, And The Curious Ways They Play Video Games” by Leigh Alexander, and it made me want to play Farmville. It was this quote, in particular:

“It just feels really good to know that I’m on top of things,” she tells me, chewing on her straw a little nervously as she explains why she’s so into FarmVille. “I like to know my farm is in good shape and, like, everyone can see it.”

The article goes on to mention how games are used as escapism, or control, or a coping mechanism, or some other psychological reason proving we are still so tortured despite our tremendous technology…. (except, I added the weird philosophical wane on technology at the end). What I am trying to say is, I too, want to feel like I have my shit together….and  with FarmVille, I can knock out being social, AND get that the fake accomplishment/satisfaction feeling from having an orderly farm. And everyone seeing that I have an orderly farm. I have healthy cows. My chickens lay nice eggs. My crops are fertile. I have accomplished something very important today.

… But then I pull up the FarmVille website, and I am instantly terrified. I can’t click on anything in the page. This is a game…? It doesn’t look like a game. The website tells me nothing… Except… if I want more information, I must sign into Facebook.

Here is the other part of the dilemma:  I can’t sign into Facebook, because then everyone will know that I am now playing FarmVille.  I am a proud member of the  “I dont care about your farm, or your fish, or your park, or your mafia!!!”  Facebook group. Or, at least that is what I tell myself, the “myself” that has been influenced by gaming males….  But enough about males: either way, can I go back on my digital word? Do I need to create a fake Facebook account so I can play FarmVille? Why do I even care that much about FarmVille to consider making a fake account!?  (Why, FarmVille, why have you eaten at my psyche like so?)

As if on cue, last evening I stumbled upon this NPR story on older female players and “Bejeweled” (…which also happened to mention FarmVille):

“What you find is a lot of women who are both working and raising children just have no time for relationships,” says Misiek Piskorski, who teaches about online social networking at the Harvard Business School. “But it’s not like they wouldn’t want to spend more time having these relationships. It’s just really, really hard. And this allows them to basically sustain these relationships.” Piskorski says the games aren’t taking away from face-to-face interactions. They’re just replacing time these women would’ve spent watching TV or some other media. And for busy King, that’s good enough.

I played Bejeweled (and Mah Jong tiles, JT’s Blocks, Text Twist and many many others) during my free periods all through high school, so I am all Bejeweled out at this point in my life. But NPR, mentioning FarmVille when I am already wrestling with my decision of the game? Are you listening to my thoughts, NPR?

I do like that these social networking games are the new way of “doing lunch”, or “grabbing some coffee”, but should I replace actual face time with digital time?   I can reach more of my friends by interacting with them digitally, but do I lose something when sacrificing actual face to face interaction? Is this a trade-off I want to make?  As I age, I wonder if I really need to keep up this “gamer cred”. What is the point in impressing the “young male gamers” in my head when I am in my mid-20’s?  If I play a game to relax and unwind, does it matter what kind of game it is?

My boyfriend jokes that he will break up with me if I got addicted to FarmVille, so I guess gamer cred still lives on at my age… Maybe I should stick to Team Fortress 2 as my “coping mechanism“…..


Does Steam care more about pirates than its customers?

An in-game screenshot of Crysis, powered by th...

I've been watching The Pacific, which made me want to play "Crysis" (Image via Wikipedia)

I don’t want to rain on the good Steam press parade happening right now (Steam recently announced it would start distributing their games on Macs),  but while I was moving this weekend, Steam let me down.  I  did not have internet access from Friday to Monday because I was moving. To someone addicted to Team Fortress 2, four days is a long time. I tried to fill my FPS void with Crysis, thinking it would still play without an internet connection. I don’t need an internet connection to play Crysis, right? Wrong!

Booting up Crysis in Steam’s offline mode couldn’t, and wouldn’t happen, because Steam didn’t believe that I had an authentic copy of Crysis, never mind that I had purchased it through Steam.  How is this possible? I’ve played Crysis countless times before, and the game was authenticated when I first got it. How could Steam let me down, now, in my hour of need, when it is supposed to be the savior of PC gaming? At the time, I felt like I was being punished, maybe for not getting Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse.  If only that were the truth!

Now that I have internet access, I did some googling, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Steam might be paranoid:

“In general, it seems DRM restrictions in gaming are becoming more intrusive and creating problems for genuine customers, rather than the pirates who happily bypass these measures every time,” Boyd said. “PC gaming should be about portability – what use are games you can’t play at the airport or on a train if you can’t get online?”

via Hackers Crack Ubisoft always-online DRM controls

But wait, doesn’t Steam have digital technology that makes DRM obsolete?  Then why I couldn’t play Crysis?


Nintendo DS snubs Lindsay Lohan

Mean Girls

Image via Wikipedia

Poor Lindsay Lohan. A game based off the best movie she ever did (Mean Girls) comes out this month, and she is not even on the cover. Writes PopEater:

Lindsay Lohan may have been the star of ‘Mean Girls,’ but she’s curiously missing from the cover for the upcoming Nintendo DS game based on the hit 2004 film. In lieu of Lohan, the cover instead features Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried, who played the trio of super-popular girls known as “the plastics.” The film follows the life of a new student named Cady Heron, played by Lohan.

via Lindsay Lohan Left off ‘Mean Girls’ Game Cover

Uinterview.com speculates Ms. Lohan was left off because her “image was deemed to0 expensive“… but how can that be? I thought Lindsay was  broke to the point where she couldn’t pay rent

I am sure Paramount could afford to pay her something out of the $14.99 price. Beggars can’t be choosers; I have a feeling Lindsay would be happy with just a dime for each sale.

I think PopEaters got it:

Whether this move by 505 Games and Nintendo was intentional, it appears to be part of larger pattern regarding the removal of Lohan from ‘Mean Girls’ promotion altogether. Recent promos for ‘Mean Girls’ airing on television have put the focus on McAdams and her crew, leaving Lohan out of the commercials altogether.

via Lindsay Lohan Left off ‘Mean Girls’ Game Cover

Tsk, tsk Paramount. Not having the main character on the game cover is one thing, but to remove her from all promos is  just cold…. too cold for words.


Top 10 sexiest male video game characters

The internet is littered with lists of hot female video game characters, I thought it was time I made one for the ladies. For you males about to protest my lack of steroid-using males, I refer you to this picture.

Number 10:

Miguel Caballero Rojo from Tekken 6

Choosing a Tekken character was difficult as the obvious choices are Jin ( “take me for a night ride, Jin!“) and Hwoarang (because he has pretty flowing hair, rides a motorcycle and can rock goggles).  What removed Jin and Hwoarang from this list is: both men weren’t consistantly attractive throughout the series. Hwoarang looks like a Neanderthal in Tekken 4  and Jin’s nipples were too weird in 4 & 5 to the point of distraction. Horns are only attractive on certain males, and Devil Jin is not one of them.

Miguel makes my number 10 because of his outfit, his sexy voice, his nonchalant manner, his swagger, and his need to seek revenge for his sister is somewhat noble and heartwarming. Miguel is only number 10 because he is too manly for me to handle and looks like a newly homeless pimp in his second outfit. Miguel, how is it possible that you can rock a matador outfit but not a long coat?

Number 9:

Ryu and Ken Masters from the Street Fighter series

Ryu and Ken are tied for 9th place because of this video from the animated Street Fighter series (apologies for the song).  Homophobes should not click on the hyperlink, or watch the video below.

If you can’t handle thinking about Ryu and Ken this way (prudes!), I present you with Tenacious D’s song titled Double Team to explain why I listed these two street fighters together.

Number 8:

Tidus from the Final Fantasy series

Despite their feminine features, Final Fantasy males have normal, attractive bodies (compared to say, the men of Gears of War). Squall Lionheart was my initial choice because brunettes are better than blondes, but Squall’s style and scar aren’t enough to overlook his character flaws. The same applies to Cloud Strife.  Why exactly does Cloud have that large of a weapon? His sword size makes me think he is compensating for something…  while Tidus is honest, speaks his mind, and has one of the best personalities of the main Final Fantasy characters. Cloud requires some warming up, while you  instantly like Tidus.  Tidus and Yuna also have a romantic underwater kissing scene. Tidus is only number 7 because of his clothing attire (inspired by fishermen? really?) and because of his age in Final Fantasy X: 17 is jail bait in some states.

Number 7

Fox McCloud from the Star Fox series

Fox McCloud is so foxy. Can you imagine cuddling with him? And his nice bushy tail? Sometimes I wish I was Krystal

[youtubevid id=”K5ILCyhN_5c”]

Number 6:

Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Series

Even though Solid Snake is based off a variety of action movie heroes (but also Christopher Walken!), he is troubled and complicated.  I wanted to be his stay-at-home wife, and be his shoulder to cry on when he came home. From having to kill his twin brother, to constantly being pulled out of retirement, to killing his old mentor, to insane premature aging, to his multiple suicide attempts, Solid Snake had some issues to work out (and I am not even scratching the surface here).  I don’t think there is another video game character out there that I want to hold and comfort as much as I want to hold Solid Snake. Despite all his hardships, Solid Snake always maintains a level and calm head, is dependable,  and possesses MacGyver-esque capabilities (to be expected with his high IQ).  Solid Snake is only at number 6 (he could easily be number 3) because watching tribute videos of Solid Snake make me cry like no other video game tributes ever could. To add a touch of humor to an otherwise tragic choice, Solid Snake makes a great porn star name.

Number 5:

Dante from the Devil May Cry series

He has silver hair, is seeking revenge for his dead mother, has super powers, a great sense of style (notice the zipper over his crotch, and his trenchcoat), is generally witty,  and is demon spawn. I crushed on him so hard when I was a teenager…

Number 4:

David King from the Resident Evil Outbreak series

A man of few words, David is sexy as all hell, a badass, fires his gun with one hand in a nonchalant manner, has a great voice and is the true Macgyver on this list. Never in a million years would I think a plumber was sexy, but David King is the exception.  Yeah, the whole mysterious “rarely talk about my past or myself” is enchanting at first, but it gets old really quickly. The internetz say he had a short temper, but I don’t remember any of that… or perhaps I overlooked it because his ability to craft weapons from anything outshone his anger problem.

Number 3:

The Prince from Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

From the Prince’s poofy pants (very Aladdin-like!), facial hair, haircut and voice actor Nolan North, the Prince has earned the number 3 spot easily. The Prince is so acrobatic and graceful, thereby so fun to watch move… and despite the critics, I think the Prince looked great in Warrior Within and the subsequent versions, even if he stopped wearing the white poofy pants and became all doom and gloom.

Number 2:

Leon from the Resident Evil series

Oh Leon… he is such a gentleman. He’ll even take a bullet for you. If there was ever a zombie invasion, Leon is your man. Having been exposed to both zombie viruses (and a parasite), he knows the drill. When you first meet Leon, he is late for an assignment because he overslept- something I can relate to-  but by the end of the series, Leon has become a trusted Secret Service agent.  Besides his hair and voice, Leon has a great sense of style (even looks great in a mobster outfit) and is a friend to animals.

And while I know he is not related to the Kennedy’s, taking him home to my immigrant mom would win me some brownie points.

Number 1:

Desmond Miles from the Assassins Creed series

Yes, Desmond Miles is not the “assassin”, but you know by the third installment Mr. Miles will have all assassin  capabilities because of the “bleeding effect”. Desmond Miles has a sexy voice (Nolan North again), and moves like a panther ( I can gush about his swagger all day long), eagle, and ballet dancer all rolled into one. How many males can get away with that sideways cape, or those knee-high leather boots? No one but Mr. Miles. And you know under all those layers he has a fantastic body. The fact that I cannot see it makes him all the more attractive – there is much left to the imagination…

But most importantly, Desmond Miles looks like a normal dude, someone I can actually have a relationship with. His personal issues only make him more intriguing…what can I say, damaged guys have their appeal?

Honorable mentions include: Yoshi (all about the tongue), Max Payne, Dr. Gordon Freeman (his glasses and his field of study), and the demoman from Team Fortress 2 (his accent and eye patch).


Gender issues in video games

I read Katharine Fletcher’s piece “Confessions of a Call of Duty girl: Women in Games today” with my usual omg-article-about-girl-gaming zeal. Fletcher’s piece was interesting for a couple of reasons:

First,  Fletcher admits that she probably got her job because she was female, and that is perfectly acceptable, and understandable in the gaming industry. If you have been reading my blog, you should all know that women gamers make up about 40% of the gaming population (includes casual gamers), yet we are severely under represented, and if we are represented, it is in an overtly sexual way.  Case in point, Fletcher mentions Alex Sim- Wise, the NSFW model and game columnist. While I am not saying she should not take her clothes off to make more money off horny virgin males, it doesn’t really help us gamer ladies be taken seriously.  And, her nakedness, while strictly meant for the males, is potentially a big turn off for women who might be interested in gaming. That’s just my “feminist” two- cents popping out to say hello…. and this video below, narrated by a male, says everything I could possibly say on the subject.

[youtubevid id=”R8ZVZRsy8N8″]

Second, when talking about the cancellation of Women In Games, Fletcher wonders why the conference couldn’t sell enough tickets. I never even heard about the Women In Games conference until news broke that it was canceled this year. Ouch. Well, gaming media is male dominated, and I don’t see much effort being put by the gaming media to reach out to women, so the fact that I never heard about the conference isn’t a surprise.

Could it be that, as with third-wave feminism, the embracing of diversity of viewpoints and lack of a single unified cause is harder to promote?

via Confessions of a Call of Duty girl: Women in Games today

Third,  I wonder if the apathetic attitudes and the mis-notion of feminism as being about women over men and not about equals is a British issue, because the ladies over here in America just want some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I don’t think the goal of gender blindness is reasonable, because let’s face, we’re all animals at heart, all motivated by sex.  Mutual respect should be our the top priority, but we’re a long way from that….

When it comes to women in the gaming industry, sexually charged conversation is the dominate voice. When male gamers ask to see your boobs, or why you don’t have a sexy picture of yourself as your avatar, they do it because they don’t respect you as a person, and view you as a sexual piece of meat, even if they won’t consciously admit this. But hey, those males don’t know any better, because there aren’t other opinions or behaviors in that subculture, right? Have they been conditioned to behave this way?

I agree with Fletcher wholeheartedly, the more voices in gaming, about gaming, the better. I would think the notion of “many voices”  would be easier to promote….


Gaming industry targets women with 'Project Runway' game

Victoria's Secret supermodel Heidi Klum waves ...

"give me moar money!" says Heidi Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Last Friday saw the unveiling of Nintendo’s newest game for the Wii console titled “Project Runway”.  The game is a collaborative effort between Nintendo, Atari, The Weinstein Co (producers of the Project Runway TV show) and Tornado Studios. I don’t know whether to be insulted by this development, or pleased, as this game is clearly just for the girls.  It doesn’t help when other media outlets say “This could be the future of gaming for women“. A fashion game based off of a reality show? Please! 40% of gamers are girls, and we were doing just fine before this game came along. If anything, this game ruins our cred as gamers.

First off, I am a little bit offended that this game is about fashion considering this will be “the future of gaming for women”. This game is clearly trying to get new girl gamers, and ignoring the already established gals that game. If any gaming company were to look at the games most popular with females, they would see that we like puzzle games. Just look at the  casual gamers that like internet based games like Text Twist, Bejeweled and Mahjong Tiles, to DS games like Professor Layton. Did anyone in the industry stop to think about why the horror shooting games with puzzles (Tomb Raider series, Resident Evil series, Bioshock series) are more popular with girls than those that do not have puzzles?

Second, I am a little offended that this game is being marketed to 6 – 12 year old girls, and that this game is all about fashion  and models on runways (Super model Heidi Klum is also in the game). Do we really need to make little girls that play video games feel bad about their weight? Do we need to start giving them body image problems when they are 6 years old (if we don’t already)? It is the 21st century…. why are we still boxing our genders? (Down with the system I say, quietly….)

Jonathan Anastas, Atari VP, was quoted telling the press:

“We really believe the core target audience is girls 6-12. Girls are starting to buy their own clothes around 13 and 14 and as they are learning to make their own fashion choices this is a way for them to interact and participate with style.”

via Victoria’s Secret “Angel”, Heidi Klum, to be in Wii game

Third, if I were to be one of those people that would use video games as a scapegoat, I could blame this game, and other games like it, for the vapid consumer society we live in and for the whole American way of living beyond our means.  If I could say that shooting games are responsible for all those school shootings, why wouldn’t a game like this be responsible for Confessions of a Shopaholic and our recession?

Fourth: Think about it. The reality TV show “Project Runway” has drama and suspense. Contestants don’t like each other. The judges are cruel. Does this game have any of the qualities that make a reality series good? No.

As for playing this game, of course I will play it  (will I buy it? No…). For the record, I love games that let you design costumes  or have amazing character customization (and I will admit I spend hours on designing clothes/characters within those games), but for a game that is only about clothes and fashion?  It will get boring and repetitive…. just like any ol’ shooting game.