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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Let the Nerds Go at It: How Media is Changing for the Better

The general rule of thumb for any new thing is that corporations and people who generally have no idea how to handle this new thing will pick it up and take it for a test drive. Fairly often this ends up being a bad thing. Either the product fails and now the market believes there isn't any interest in this thing anymore and drops it completely or it succeeds and they end up running it into the ground trying to replicate the formula they've found which then results in the previous point. Think of it kind of like the Michael Bay Transformer movies. While they are stupid and genuinely hated by a majority for very valid reasons they still make massive amounts of money when they're released so obviously there is a market for them.
My point being is that profitable isn't always good but its unfortunately what drives the market forward. Imagine a world where Star Wars tanked at the box office. We'd be left without Carrie Fischer, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford as brand name actors with their legendary status. It wouldn't have spawned a franchise of movies, games, books, comics, toys and etc to the point where there's still demand for an entire new trilogy of movies and even more of everything else. Star Wars is one of those few moments where a nerd, George Lucas, was successful.
The reason I bring this up is kind of about my last post about my feeling on the lackluster DC movies as well as a few other things. A lot has changed since the first video game ever and the industry is showing it in both good and bad ways. But the one thing I like most of all is how the nerds, or rather people who are extremely passionate about a particular subject to the point of fanaticism, are now being put in direct charge of products. This isn't something new but its become more of a thing in these past few years. If I had to categorize the 2010's in a market term it would be a burst of nerd culture actually run by the nerds. Time long ago nerd was actually kind of a bad term. It generally meant a person who wasn't physically capable or someone who was a loner. Now its the passionate director, designer, fan and pretty much everything else positive in society.
What I mean is the the higher ups are finally listening to the fans or their consumers. And I mean really listening. While money is certainly a deciding factor now its more about how it will be received. I think that's the power of hindsight. A lot of classic movies were bombs at the box office but found a devoted following later on. The opposite can also be inferred. From a gaming perspective, hindsight has allowed us to find a market for retro gaming and things like it. Remastered versions of cult classic titles now available on a massive scale. I think a good example of this is the cult classic Psychonauts. When I was a kid I heard about this really cool and inventive game... and never saw it on store shelves. I saw magazine ads and even a few trailers in those free game demo disks... but could never find it. Funny thing about that is the game didn't do great either from a money perspective. For whatever reason there wasn't any copies really anywhere for the consumer to pick up. And while it was considered a success from the stand point of a well made game it failed financially. While people can say that it was part of the still budding internet age it still was sort of an anomaly.
I'm not saying that I as a self proclaimed Star Wars fan should direct the movies or as a gamer I should make a game, rather that the market is open for someone like me to show how much I appreciate these things, either in money for fan creations. Let the nerds take over for a while. Its been working so far, why not see how far we can run with it?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What's Wrong with DC's Movies

Hey guys. I've been thinking since my video game reviews and other content is a bit sparse that I might branch out, just a bit, into some other media. I won't really address anything I can't comment on so, while requests are a nice thing, I personally will just talk about what I want to talk about as it comes to me.
Batman v. Superman was released a while ago but its effects are still going on even now. I hear people defending the movie for very small points but ultimately I feel it is the absolute worst of all DC's movies, and I say that knowing that there are probably some direct to video titles that DC has done their best to shove under the rug. Honestly I don't think, and really hope, it doesn't get much worse than this. I personally consider myself to be a Marvel person though that's more of a wish than an actuality. Not only are the majority of the comics I own from DC but I often find myself being drawn back to DC in one way or another. Marvel is sort of a daunting company, almost monolithic. Even more so now that they've been acquired by Disney. The ultimate problem I have with Marvel is the fact its far too difficult to get into any of their content without a guide. While this can be true for DC as well the difference is that DC has its own one off stories which make up the bulk of my limited amount of comics. If I don't want to discover an entire universe I can just pick up one of their Elseworlds stories and get my fix without having to do prior research if the comic was handled correctly. Apart from something like Days of Future Past there's not really that much that Marvel doesn't cross over or blend with their other series. While this is great for long time fans, any newcomers will be confused to say the least. But we're not talking about Marvel here.
The reason I consider it to be the worst comic book movie is a simple case of not handling the characters sensibly. I watched snippets of the movie with a break in between every so often of walking somewhere else to let off some steam by their ridiculous decisions. I want to say first off that Batman and Superman both kill people, though they don't revel in it or go into a fight with the intent to kill. Its more of like an after effect like Batman punching someone so hard they go into cardiac arrest or asphyxiate but since Batman is kind of an asshole and doesn't call the paramedics they just end up dying. And Superman could just forget how strong he is as well as doing what I previously mentioned about Batman as well. The furthest I think they should ever take Batman straight up killing someone in the media is basically what happened in Batman Begins where he just refuses to save someone from certain death. I don't really understand why most people had a problem with how Zod was killed by Superman in Man of Steel. While a boring movie, the scene was actually my personal favorite, being very conflicting for him. He ended up having to kill not only one of the few members of his dying race but also simply to protect innocent people. However the idea of Batman willingly killing people in BvS and actually taking further measures to do so knowing full well they would die from it spits in the face of the character.
Prior to writing this I got caught up with the first season of Gotham. The interaction between Bruce and Alfred is a really clear example of how their relationship would immediately crumble should Alfred know as he has had a troubled past. Father figure or not, torturing people and brutally killing them isn't something Alfred has been okay with in the comics. The only instance I can ever remember him being 'okay' with this is in the really god awful All Star Batman and Robin series. And even then they had a moment where Batman realizes he's done something awful to someone as he sees the Green Lantern almost die in front of him and saving him is a turning point where he vows not to kill any more criminals.
Zach Snyder has gone on record stating he has no idea what to do or what he's doing. The very flimsy reasoning behind Batman killing people comes from The Dark Knight Returns from which he based the character off of. To which I have to say if he really wanted to make the Dark Knight Returns why not just make it? As it is now cannon, Batman brutally kills people. I would say this would put him in stark contrast to Superman as he would never tolerate his behavior without a stern warning, non-Elseworld or alternate universe Superman anyways. But given that this version really just doesn't seem to care at all just completely screws up the dynamic of what the characters have been for the past X amount of decades. In contrast, Civil War came out a while ago too and stayed true to the main characters. Granted I have no idea why Tony Stark would be in bed with the government on the decision of registering superheroes but it actually makes sense given the albeit terrible comic the story was lifted from. Even the part about Spiderman being the posterboy for the registration, though that was more fan service and cameo stuff than from the original story line. Point is the characters weren't compromised for their movie appearances and were portrayed as competently as possible.

Thanks for reading this. I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to keep up with non video game articles but if it allows me to write more in lieu of lacking video games then I think this will work out.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Keep the VR Exclusives to a Minimum: What We Forgot About the 70's

I'm going to say it right now, I don't want virtual reality games. I don't want to buy them, the system and I really don't want to play them. This is less of a 'this is a gimmick that will fall out eventually' and more of a I have had serious medical problems my entire life and putting one of these things on legitimately terrifies me. Back to my previous point, I don't think this is a gimmick. This seems like the next step in technology in general. Like the precursor to those god awful sci-fi movie technology things that we've been seeing in just about every future movie/game. While I will not be a participant in this decade I still believe that this is a step into the future and therefore in the right direction. As I'm writing this I have an eye splitting headache and putting on a headset whirring with power and flashing lights into my eyes sounds like a nightmare.
My dream for video games is that eventually we'll hit a wall and we can go no further from a technical stand point. Not from the sense that games will never evolve in a technical department sense, rather we will have a baseline for all consoles and PCs that will last until the end of time. If I looked to my right I currently have seven gaming devices which isn't counting the 3DS right in back of me. If I counted how much all of these things would cost it would probably be in the thousands, and that's just having two consoles from this generation not counting the Vita or aforementioned 3DS. Whenever I hear a new console is being released that isn't a special edition I get really depressed. How much will it cost and how long will it take for me to raise up the money to get this? I still haven't been able to get my hands on a PS4 and I'm still sort of down about it. To put it bluntly this is one of the most expensive hobbies in the world to stay up to date on. I also have a love hate relationship with PC as whatever I have there will always be something better and when I get my hands on that I will still be under the curve. "Its good but will it run Crysis?" is a pretty good example of this.
In order to keep myself being somewhat up to date without becoming destitute I must forego certain additions ie. Kinect, PlayStation Eye et cetera. I generally look at exclusives to these things as a necessary evil. You should get the most play/work out of an item and an exclusive for this item is a good way for a company to recoup costs. Only by good graces have the majority of these exclusives been lack luster to say the least. VR is one of these additions but about six hundred percent more expensive but that isn't without good or sensible reasoning. The system is expensive and the price is indicative of that. I've been seeing a few games on Steam designed for VR and have heard talks of VR exclusive games. While I'm not going to hope that these games fail and, by extension, the equipment fails I would like to remind you of a time when no one knew how to market, produce, distribute and price games fairly...
While I was not alive in the 70's its ripples are still felt today. A rocky road of a time that shaped gaming into what it is today. Back then most games were a far cry of what they are today, no pun intended. Most times they were ridiculous little time wasters and would just barely classify as a game. My mom bought me an Atari emulator type console for Christmas a while back. My first jump into these games was nothing short of a culture shock. I had no idea what was going on, what I was going to do or how to do it. Diverting from this, during this time everything gaming related was insanely expensive. Taking these prices into inflation by today's standards some of these, mind you, basic consoles would cost around a thousand dollars today. And that was normal. Expected. One of these consoles was the Neo Geo. A console so expensive just having one back in the day made you a legend that kids would pass around during Recess. By today's standards that console would be around a thousand dollars. There were also exclusive games for this console and since no one was able to afford it these possible franchises died out simply because there was no market for them. Apart from that the games were also overpriced and were extremely difficult to find.
My main point is that not everyone will be able to afford a VR system. Others may not want to buy one in the first place. While I'm not going to stop anyone there needs to be a steady increase in this technology. Don't force people to buy it to enjoy what is happening rather allow them to steadily digest what is being released to pique interest so that eventually every person will have this standard without having to tear into their wallets. VR is the future but we can wait a bit longer.
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