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I have to stop making announcements about what I’m going to write about next because I tend to shuffle around articles. I am still planning on that Final Fantasy VII Advent Children review, since I have seen the movie several times as to highlight flaws with the narrative. But now I have a different issue.
Recently I took the time to pick up a copy of Final Fantasy XV, and for the first time in a long time, I was tempted to pick up the deluxe edition. This temptation was left unfulfilled because I wanted something very specific: the game’s soundtrack.
There’s a humorous aspect to my current position in the blogosphere. As previous discussions with SunkenThought have revealed, I do have a handful of Best Blogging Buddies, her being among them. One of the beautiful things about blogging is that you puts you in touch with interesting people that you wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise.
What I do find odd, however, is the fact that I haven’t attracted other Dungeons & Dragons fans to the blog. Despite my original D&D post blowing up in terms of visibility, it hasn’t really generated any ongoing support. My followup to it has mostly remained untouched, and that lightning-in-a-bottle remains unreplicated.
Yet, I do not believe in consorting with other fans to the exclusion of my beloved regulars. Instead, I believe it is far more productive to share my interests with my audience in hopes of perhaps showing them something new and engaging.
With all that in mind, I realized that I had talked about D&D’s resurgence, discussed the culture surrounding it, and reblogged a post or two regarding other people’s experiences. But, I never got into what the game actually is. What is D&D and how does it work?
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Recently, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV was made available for rent on iTunes. Being a Final Fantasy fan, I decided to check it out. But I was also keenly aware of its critical response on RottenTomatoes.
Was this going to be a hidden gem? Was it going to be the movie that defied previous expectations for Final Fantasy movies? Was it going to be an improvement on “Final Fantasy VII Advent Children” or the ill-fated “Spirits Within”? Spoilers for all three movies will follow.
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I find the game industry to be an unusual specimen of sorts. The interplay between fans and media creators is a tangled mess that will largely be explored in “Fear and Loathing on the Internet”, but I do want to call attention to a certain pattern of corporate behavior.
Today we’re going to talk about two large game publishers, Capcom and Konami. For the uninitiated, Capcom and Konami cut their teeth early on in gaming history. Capcom became well-known for franchises such as Mega Man, Street Fighter, and Resident Evil. Konami became well-known for franchises such as Metal Gear, Castlevania, and Silent Hill.
But, take a quick glance at internet forums and you’ll find the discussions regarding Capcom and Konami to be largely very denigrating. What on Earth happened?
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This is somewhat of a follow-up post to my original Dungeons & Dragons article I made some time. It has been my most successful article to date in terms of views, receiving over 2000 since its original posting. However, that visibility meant that it was ripe for receiving hit-and-run comments.
Compared to other platforms, WordPress is pretty mild in terms of nastiness in my experience. Post moderation is robust, the community is very friendly and overall I’ve found it to be a welcoming place.
But, I did receive two comments that I’d like to respond to. Usually, nasty comments for their own sake will just be trashed from the moderation queue. They will never see the light of day.
Initially, I kept these comments public because I wanted to prove that they were around. However, I decided to go back on that because I don’t want to establish that kind of precedent. After this post is up, they will be trashed. All that will be left of them are the screenshots that I took. I am not doing this for their benefit since I don’t think they will be inclined to listen. However, I do believe this might be beneficial in understanding some of the behavioral mechanisms at play for an outside observer.
With that in mind, let’s get started.
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I am not a man of nostalgia. My impression of video games, as a whole, has improved over time. My childhood may be have been filled with moments of legitimate joy, but it was also filled with many more times of trial and error. Gameplay conventions that I appreciate about the modern state of gaming were absent. I recall trying to play the original System Shock and being shocked that it required the player to use a slider on one of its many intimidating user interfaces just to look up. It was an era before mouselook, an era in which I was uncomfortable travelling.
But just as it would be inaccurate to view my personal childhood through rose-colored glasses, so too would it be inaccurate to view the present state of gaming through the same lens.
My largest gripe is the surge in DLC or downloadable content. DLC is pretty self-explanatory in concept. Previously, additions to a game could only be released for PC games as expansions. Consoles for the most were absent from this process, though the lock-on cartridge for Sonic 3 and Knuckles could be argued as its own form of an expansion pack (though it would be more accurate to describe it as a standalone expansion). As the Dreamcast introduced online connectivity, and the original Xbox introduced hard drive storage, it was now possible for a game to receive patches and updates from the internet.
But, the widespread adoption of DLC came quickly, and without structure. People were still trying to figure out what to do with it. Arguably, they still are. But what was happening as a result?
I’m certain that I’m late to the party on this subject, but I do want to throw in my two cents on the broader pattern of the presence of “hype culture”. The recent release of “No Man’s Sky” helps to highlight a key problem with how consumers and media creators interact.
Hype culture is the result of the process of elevating the consumer’s expectations through tantalizing press releases, trailers, demos, or other forms of marketing and promotion that are meant to produce “buzz”. After the product is promoted, consumers begin to jump on the bandwagon in anticipation for release.
But does this expectation always match with reality? To that, we turn to the case study of No Man’s Sky. What happened with No Man’s Sky, and why did it turn out the way that it did?