If He Hates Ted so Much; Why did he even HIRE Him?! and Where did this Hatred Jirard has for Ted even come from?!
What's on your mind?
I feel like he replaces a certain old character back in the Completionist's old days (yes I know who), but I wonder about this Ted guy as he feels like an intern who's involved in BTS other than his comic relief part of the show.
It's been two years since Greg has left the beard bros, and even longer since the original background was made, so I've updated it. I'd like some feedback as to what you think about it (is it good, is it an eyesore, should I delete any image editing software I have, etc.) and if any images should be replaced with another.
I also plan to change the inner image, though I've no idea what to change it to. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
How does jirard take off (or something) his beard in the intro
I thought it might be good to include the codes and names of the levels played in an episode. They would be easy to find for anyone looking to play them. I don't mind doing it, but I don't know if anyone thinks that is a good idea. Thoughts?
Back in the days of the NES, game controllers had two buttons and four directions; figuring out how to play games was easy, to say the least. Nowadays, games are becoming very complex, and tutorials are becoming much more of a must. From what I've seen over the years, there are good ways to design tutorials, and there are bad ways.
The quintessentially bad way to design a tutorial is to have the game pause the game play and show you what you need to do in a text box. For example, If you're walking down the street and the game stops you and shows a bunch of text on the screen explaining how to play, that's usually not the best way to design a tutorial. People don't want to read, they just want to do it, and they want to learn by playing. Unfortunately though, there are very few games today that are simple enough to be learned by experimentation alone.
Generally speaking, the best way to design a tutorial is to teach the player what they need to do in a safe environment, so that they're able to perform the same action in a dangerous environment. People usually don't like text boxes because they don't want to read, but the issue is that the games need to show you what buttons you need to press in order to perform specific actions. I think Ratchet & Clank (2016) handles this very well by simply making the icon for a button appear above Ratchet's head, which works perfectly because you're already looking at Ratchet while playing the game, so you're instantly taught what you need to do. The Last of Us also handles tutorials well, specifically in the tutorial for teaching you how to shoot guns. There's a scene in which a man is dying, so the main character decides to put him out of his misery. On the screen appears "L2 to aim, R2 to shoot," and then you have to shoot him in the head. Not only does this efficiently and effectively teach you how to use your weapon, but it also does a very good job of setting the incredibly dark tone of the game.
Obviously, these aren't the only solutions to teaching players. Some of the best designers are ones who can think outside the box and do something new.
I'm Deadpool, and if you don't know who I am, you're dead to me, just like all the baddies I shot today. Hooray! If you have heard of me it's probably because of my movie that came out back in February, but I'm not here to talk about movie. I'm here to talk about my game, y'know, the one High Moon Studios made for me back in 2013. Hold onto your butts High Moon, because I'm about to review this game to make sure you guys didn't suck >:-D *gun cocks*
I think it's safe to say that the story is pretty straightforward. It starts out just like any other day: I'm chillin' in my crib, my X-Buddies start calling to tell me how much they love me, but then, Peter from High Moon tells me that the game ain't happenin, so I do the only sensible thing: I blow up a nearby building! This is enough to get Peter's attention, and he starts making my game! Huzzah!!! Unfortunately, I've gotta memorize a script, but luckily for me, I have perfect photographic memory, so I memorized the entire thing in five seconds! (Nah, I'm kidding, I ad-libbed for the whole game.) Turns out, I didn't even need to read the script, because I figured out the entire plot pretty quickly: Mr. Sinister is the bad guy, he's doing bad things, so I kill him to death! (After I kill two of his clones first #woopsiedaisy).
The presentation is definitely the strongest aspect of this game, k'now why? Because I'm presenting it! This game captures my personality and all my good sides perfectly! In fact, the very first level is just me screwin' around in my house. If you make me go to the bathroom, I gotta make my own censored bar, and I obviously need a pretty big one to cover my big one. If you make me go to the fridge, I can start chuggin' down beers, but if I drink to much, I say "Enough with the damn beer! My healing factor won't let me get drunk anyway." This is my favorite gag: if you make me grab a book from the bookshelf, I pick up the entire shelf and say "What is this cheap prop!?" This game is sprinkled like a doughnut with little moments like that, including a part where I can slap Wolverine over and over, a part where I tweet about stabbing Mr. Sinister in the head, and a part where flirt with the hottest babe imaginable: Death! Although, the WORST part was when Cable was talking on and on and on about destiny and doing the right thing, and it was SOOO BOOORING! Obviously, I shot myself in the head, which knocked me out for long enough so I didn't have to hear the rest of that speech. If you ever pull anything like that again High Moon, it'll be YOU that gets shot in the head!
The game play is kind of repetitive, but who cares? You get to watch me slice, stab, shoot, and smash my way through hordes of bad dudes! What more could you want in life? Fear not, because if on the off chance you want more, you can buy all kinds of different weapons. I start out with dual katanas and dual pistols, but you can buy me dual shotguns, grenades, dual tiny swords (so cute!), dual uzis, flashbang grenades, dual hammers (Deadpool smash!), land mines, dual laser pistols, and bear traps! Happy birthday to me!!!
Overall, I'll give this game a 6/10: okay, but not great. While the presentation is stellar and perfectly represents my personality, the game play and graphics are kinda poopy at times. The graphics make this game look like it's on a PS2, and the game play is rock hard on some parts! I died waaaaaaaaay too many times on the final boss, and I'm Deadpool! I can't die!!
Nah, who am I kidding? This game's got me in it! I give it a 10/10!
In their Let's Play of Banjo Kazooie, Jirard and Alex both agreed and mentioned multiple times that the game Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts is "a good game, but not a good Banjo game." I can agree with their statement, but I can also wonder why. Banjo Kazooie is a platformer and a collect-a-thon, similar to Super Mario 64 and Spyro the Dragon. Banjo Kazooie's sequel, Banjo Tooie, controls very similarly and follows the same formula of being a platformer and a collect-a-thon, so that's a pretty logical sequel. However, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts is very different. Instead of being a collect-a-thon platformer, Nuts and Bolts is about designing vehicles in a realistic fashion, and somewhat serves as a lesson in engineering. Given how much Nuts and Bolts differs from the first two titles, it begs the question: "Is Nuts and Bolts a Banjo game?" Technically speaking, yes, Nuts and Bolts is a Banjo game because it's about the two main characters Banjo and Kazooie, and it's set in the Banjo universe and is under the same intellectual property. However, if you were to define a Banjo game as a platformer collect-a-thon starring Banjo and Kazooie, then Nuts and Bolts is not a Banjo game because it's not a platformer collect-a-thon. By that logic though, there is a plethora of games that don't belong in their respective series.
My favorite intellectual property ever is Ratchet & Clank. Most of the games in the Ratchet & Clank series follow the same formulas and traditions. The main formula is that the games have platforming, exploration, and lots and lots of upgrade-able guns. Some of the series' traditions include an arena level, a massive collection level, and specific weapon types, such as a rocket launcher, a sniper rifle, and the ultimate weapon: the RYNO. There are some Ratchet & Clank games that deviate from this formula slightly. Ratchet: Deadlocked is different because there is significantly less exploration, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One is different because it can be played cooperatively with up to four people, and Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault is different because almost all of the game play is focused on protecting a home base. However, all of those games still strongly follow the formulaic components of guns and platforming.
Sly Cooper and God of War are very good examples of series with no black sheep (that is, games that deviate from the main formula). The Sly Cooper series consists of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, Sly 2: Band of Thieves, Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. All of the Sly games follow the same formula of being a platformer with an emphasis on stealth. The God of War series consists of God of War, God of War II, God of War: Chains of Olympus, God of War III, God or War: Ghost of Sparta, and God of War: Ascension. All of the God of War games follow the same formula of being a character-action game in which you fight lots of enemies and partake in many quick time events. The advantage of having a series with no black sheep is that you know what you're getting yourself into if you play any of the games.
The Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog series are good examples of series with many black sheep. Some examples of white sheep in the Mario series are Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, the New Super Mario Bros games, and Super Mario 3D Land. Some examples of black sheep in the Mario series are Super Mario Bros 2, Super Mario 64, Mario Kart, and Mario Party. However, Mario Kart and Mario Party have had so many sequels that they are pretty much their own series. I find it very interesting that the Mario Kart series is so successful because Mario games, traditionally, are platformers, but Mario Kart is a racing game. Having a racing game seems very counter-intuitive to me because it would seem like it wouldn't sell as well because, like Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, it breaks away from the traditional formula and thus is "not a Mario game." Regardless, the Mario Kart series is very popular and very successful. The Sonic the Hedgehog series was not nearly as lucky. The Sonic series had established itself as games that are platformers with an emphasis on speed, but many of the games strongly deviate from that path. Sonic Heroes involved controlling three people at once, Shadow the Hedgehog involved shooting guns (similar to Ratchet and Clank), Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 involved moving things with psychic abilities, and Sonic Unleashed copied God of War by having a character-action game in which you fights lots of enemies and partake in many quick time events, and none of those games were very well received. They finally returned to the original Sonic formula with the games Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, which were very well received. I can understand why people wouldn't like the games that deviate from their series' respective formula, but I'm just having a hard time understanding why the reception of new ideas is received so much better for Mario than for Sonic or Banjo Kazooie. In the words of my buddy Jack: "It's funny to look at the parallels between Zelda and Sonic because both series drastically change what they do each iteration, but somehow Nintendo just does it better."
About a year ago, my friends Rion (pronounced "Ryan") and Jack and I spoke on a podcast (which is posted on my YouTube channel) in which we talked about many different topics pertaining to video games. One thought that came to my mind is why some people seem to abandon a series that they used to be a fan of. To address this, I asked Jack "Let's say you play the old classic [Spyro games] and you're like 'hey, these games are really good, I like these games a lot,' and then The Legend of Spyro comes out and then, for whatever reason, it just doesn't interest you ... and to me that's just kind of weird because it's a Spyro game, and it makes me think 'I like Spryo, so I'm going to keep on having fun by continuing to play Spyro games'." Jack replied, "That boils down to: 'how do you define a Spyro game?' because after you play the original trilogy, that is what you think a Spyro game is, so when you play something that's not that, it's not a Spyro game." After hearing this, Rion had an interesting insight, saying "I feel like it can stagnate too, like Call of Duty: Ghosts. That trailer came out, and it did not interest me at all, and what everybody said was 'it's the exact same Call of Duty that you've been playing for about eight years'."
I think the Ratchet & Clank series does a very good job of staying true to the traditional formula but also preventing the series from stagnating by making the character Ratchet's game play very similar across almost all of the games but making the character Clank's game play different with each iteration. For example, Clank's game play in the game Crack in Time involves using multiple recordings of your own game play, Clank's game play in the game Into the Nexus involving changing gravity in a 2D environment, and Clank's game play in Ratchet & Clank 2016 involves transforming little robots into different tools to solve puzzles. I think the best way make a video game series is to stay true to the formula and the things that worked well in the previous game(s) but changing it just slightly so that each individual game has it's own unique feel.
I've always hated when people assume that something, anything, is going to be bad. When it comes to video games, games based on movies, TV shows, or any other non-original intellectual property are generally not very good. Also, movies based on video games are usually poorly received. What I find hilarious is when people assume that something is going to be bad, but turns out to actually be good.
There are many, many examples of games based on movies and TV shows that were received poorly (Doctor Who: Return to Earth, Thor: God of Thunder, and The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, just to name a few). However, there are some movie-tie-in games that were very well received, such as Alien: Isolation, Shadow of Mordor, and Spider-Man 2. In Michael Steven's Vsauce video titled "Juvenoia," he addresses the assumption that most people make about the difference between "modern" entertainment and "classic" entertainment. In his words, "Even someone who didn't grow up in this society could plainly see that in the old days, culture wasn't as dumbed-down as it is today. Things used to be made by the elites, for the elites. Now, they're made for the masses who demand sensational, atavistic pablum, instead of rational, critical thought, like scholars. Those examples sure are convincing, but the plural of anecdote isn't data. You can pick different examples and argue the opposite point."
One game company in particular bases almost all of their games on others' intellectual properties. That company is Telltale Games, who have made games that were very well received ever since their game The Walking Dead. They've made The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones, and Minecraft: Story Mode, all of which are based on others' intellectual properties, and all of which were very well received. Specifically, YouTuber Caddicarus reviewed The Wolf Among Us, saying "Now, I know absolutely nothing about the source material that this game is based on, so I can't tell you how faithful it is to that, but what I can say is, after reading the premise of this game and looking at the back of the box, I was so worried that this would be like all of those fairy-tale 'dark' movie reboots we've been seeing over the last couple of years, but you know what, no! I thought it was going to fall flat on its face and take itself far too seriously ... but it's not like that at all. It's dark, it's gritty, it's rude, it's really violent, but it feels so natural, and it's executed so well, you don't notice half of the stuff, and all you can do after that is appreciate the detail, the wit of the writing, and everything else that this game has to offer." This is a good example of defied expectations.
One thing I'm really looking forward to is the upcoming Ratchet & Clank movie. Ratchet & Clank is my all-time favorite video game series (and Ratchet is my all-time favorite video game character), and I'm insanely excited to see my favorite dynamic duo on the big screen. Unfortunately, movies based on video games have almost always had poor reception, and because of that, I think a lot of people are assuming that this movie won't be very good. Personally, I have a feeling that I'll like this movie no matter what, due to my nostalgia goggles for Ratchet & Clank, but I'm not going to assume that this movie will be amazing because it would be disappointing if it turns out to be bad, and I'm not going to assume that this movie will be bad because then I just won't want to see it in the first place. I'm just going to have a "wait and see" attitude.
As far as I know, there hasn't been a good movie based on a video game yet, but hey, there's a first time for everything.
I love me some good online games. My personal favorites are Team Fortress 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes. For both of those games, I love the cooperative game play, the co op game mode in Team Fortress 2 being Mann vs. Machine. I love those games but unfortunately, I can become very impatient with other players, being impatient and quick to judge and assume that they're not good enough.
The way I see it, there are three types of online gamers: newbs (which is short for newbie), casuals, and pros. Newbs are essentially people who aren't very good and/or aren't experienced with a particular game, and most of the time, when they try to help the team, they just end up hurting it. Casuals, in my mind, are the best types of gamers. Casuals simply want to have fun and want to have a good time; they usually know what they're doing, they aren't demanding, and they're usually the most supportive. The only downside to casuals is that what they perceive as "fun" might just be annoying or selfish to other people; for example, if someone is trying hard to win a game and the casual is goofing off somewhere and/or refusing to help, it can be pretty frustrating. I'm usually guilty of playing like a pro. Pros are the players who must win; the purpose of playing is winning, and they demand that the teammates help them achieve their goal. If the pro is put in a team with others pros, they are likely to have a good and successful time, as everyone wants to help each other win.
As a pro, I'm usually guilty of not being willing to help and/or work with newbs or casuals. Granted, like casuals, I just want to have fun, but for me, having fun pretty much just means winning. The real problem with pros thinking that newbs are dumb and inexperienced is similar to the problem with adults thinking that children are dumb and inexperienced: we were all children at some point in time!
My point is, we were all newbs at some point. I'm sorry for not always being willing to teach newcomers how to play or for expecting them to be as good as someone with as much experience as me. We should all be willing to play with newcomers and teach them how to play, so that they may one day overcome the huge gaming challenges that we pros always seek to accomplish.
There are tons of different video games in the world today, with tons of different fans, and with all that diversity comes differing opinions. One person might say "Hey, Mario 3 is the best and every game should be made just like Mario." Another person might say "No way! Black Ops 3 is the best because first-person-shooters are the only real video games!" Another person might say "Shadow of the Colossus is truly the greatest work of art ever created." Games are weird, game reviews are weird, but most of all, people are weird.
It never ceases to drive me insane when someone has a knee-jerk or instinctive reaction to a game and simply says "I hate that game!" especially if you ask them why and their response is simply "I don't know." Two things that I hate most of all when it comes to people's differing opinions on anything is when they either try to force the other person to agree with them or when one of them just says "Let's just agree to disagree and move on with our lives." Forcing someone to agree with you is obviously terrible because you're not allowing them to contemplate and develop their own opinion based on their own experience. Wanting to agree to disagree is probably a much better alternative, but it's still incomplete and feels like a last resort when you don't want to talk about it with someone. I think the best option when talking to others about their opinions is to not necessarily agree with them but to contemplate both sides of the argument and come to a conclusion based on what sounds the most appealing to you.
As I'm contemplating this, the first thing that comes to mind is the Sonic the Hedgehog fan base. This fan base makes little to no sense to me most of the time. For example, in the original Sonic games for the Sega Genesis, Sonic had black eyes with no irises. As time went on, Sonic got green irises in his eyes and has had green eyes ever since. Then, the game Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was released. This game is similar to New Super Mario Bros. because they take the old classic 2-D game play and make it look newer and better. As expected, Sonic had green eyes in Sonic 4, but fans went into a rage over the fact that Sonic had green eyes and not the black eyes from the Genesis days, and the fan base was legitimately split in half. This makes no sense to me whatsoever, and I've tried understanding it by thinking "I guess it's not completely true to the classics if Sonic has different eyes," but even then, it still just blows my mind that "fans" would get upset over the fact that Sonic looks the same has he had looked for at least eleven years! Seriously, how is the eye color of the main character a selling point? The character of Sly Cooper has brown eyes, but if he all of a sudden had blue eyes in a new game, I might think "Oh, that's interesting," but that would be the end of it.
It also drives me insane when people refuse to remove the nostalgia goggles. Nostalgia goggles, as defined by urbandictionary.com is "Someone's tunnel vision when it comes to objects form their past, such as cartoons, video games, even books." For example, my very first Sonic game was Sonic Adventure, a game that had a strong focus on story, so I would say that every Sonic game should have a good story because I have nostalgia for a Sonic game that had a good story. A game that has massive criticism from fans wearing the nostalgia goggles is DMC: Devil May Cry. Devil May Cry is a series starring a character named Dante, who is a demon hunter with white hair. The series has four games titled Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 2, Devil May Cry 3, and Devil May Cry 4. The game DMC: Devil May Cry is something of a reboot; they re-tell the story of Dante, they've redesigned the game play, and they made Dante's hair brown, not white. This, among other nostalgia-based reasons put the "fans" into a rage, with so many of them swearing that this new DMC is, by far, the worst Devil May Cry ever made. In my personal experience, I've never played any of the first four Devil May Crys, but I thoroughly enjoyed DMC, which tells me that nostalgia is the only reason people are criticizing the game as harshly as they are. If I'm being truly objective, I would say that DMC has a very well-designed and well-controlling combat system, the story isn't great, but it's okay, and the music and presentation is awesome! DMC also got good reviews from critics, and this isn't set in stone, but as a rule of thumb, I think any game that gets good reviews from critics and bad reviews from "fans" is a pretty strong sign that the "fans" are blinded by nostalgia goggles (I'm looking at you, Skyward Sword).
So far, all I've talked about are opinions that make no sense to me, but YouTuber Caddicarus has one fairly unpopular opinion that I don't necessarily share, but I can understand. Caddicarus (or Caddy, for short) has a series called "Caddy's Retrospectives" in which, he spends three weeks talking about a particular video game trilogy, sharing his thoughts, observations, and opinions, and in one of these, he talked about the Sly Cooper trilogy. The popular opinion of the Sly trilogy, my opinion included, is that Sly 3 is better than Sly 1 and Sly 2 is better than Sly 3. However, Caddy actually liked Sly 1 better than Sly 2. He is aware that this is a fairly unpopular opinion, but I think he addresses his reasons for liking Sly 1 over Sly 2 very well. In his words "My likes for [Sly 2] massively outweigh the dislikes ... but I just feel like [the characters, story, game length, and structure] either could've used a little more tweaking or shouldn't have necessarily been included in the first place, and because of that, I would even say the Sly 1 feels like the better game because of all of that stuff. Granted, it's inferior in many ways and many places, but it has more drive, it has more focus, it knows more of what it wants to be than Sly 2 does." I find this opinion very fascinating because I like Sly 2 much more than Sly 1, but I've actually played both games fairly recently, and I can totally understand where he's coming from. I didn't necessarily agree with his opinions, but I could understand why he had them, which is always my goal.
According to Dictionary.com, a video game is "any of various interactive games played using a specialized electronic gaming device or a computer or a mobile device and a television or other display screen, along with means to control graphic images." Well, there you go, I guess we're done. Well, not quite; for the lay person, this is about as straightforward and thorough as it gets. I want to dive into the core of what a video game is and for that matter, what a game is.
Fundamentally, what is a game? A game, in its simplest definition, is an amusement or pastime, according to Dictionary.com. However, I prefer computer game designer Chris Crawford's definition, as Michael Stevens mentioned in his video titled "Why Do We Play Games?" In the video, Stevens says that books and movies, while fun, are not games because they're fundamentally not interactive, but if something is fun and interactive, then it's a plaything. There are two types of playthings: toys, which are fun to play with but don't have a goal or objective, and challenges, which have a goal or objective. There are two types of challenges: puzzles, which are individualistic activities with a goal (like solving a Rubik's Cube or a crossword puzzle), and conflicts, which are not individualistic and involve multiple people trying to achieve the same goal. There are two types of conflicts: competitions, in which, competitors are not allowed to interact with each other, and games, in which, competitors are allowed to interact with each other.
What I find fascinating about these definitions of playthings, toys, challenges, puzzles, conflicts, competitions, and games is that, by the definition of toy, Minecraft is, sometimes, a toy. In Minecraft, there aren't always people to interact with, and there isn't necessarily a goal; it's just the player exploring and building to their heart's content. By the definition of puzzle, a great many video games can be considered puzzles. Super Mario Bros, Uncharted, God of War, Sonic the Hedgehog, Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, Megaman, Rayman, The Legend of Zelda, and many, many more can be considered puzzles because they involve a single player trying to achieve the goal of finishing the game. By the definition of game, the only video games that would even be considered games are multiplayer games. In most multiplayer games, such as fighting games and shooting games, there is a goal and players are allowed to interact with each other, the goal usually being to eliminate the other players. In Steven's video, he says "A game is interactive, goal-oriented, and involves other agents, for instance, other people who can interfere with and influence each other, which means, technically speaking, that life is a game ... but winning and losing are nebulous, so we invented simpler games to provide psychological rewards faster and more efficiently than life itself does."
Technically speaking though, all of those games I listed are, in fact, video games because they're licensed products available to play on video game consoles. However, people tend to define video games differently and in large part, it can get fairly subjective. Some people might try to make the argument that Super Mario Bros. is a video game because there's a "win" condition, but a game like The Stanley Parable, in which the player simply walks around and takes different paths to see what the narrator has to say, isn't a game because there isn't a "win" condition. Nika Harper addressed this in her video titled "What is a Video Game?" In the video, she mentioned that one of the reasons people don't think there's a "win" condition in The Stanley Parable is because there's no "lose" condition. In the words of Harper "We're seeing the evolution of games. Suddenly, the boundaries of what used to be called a 'game' are getting a little bit gray, and people are pushing through the walls left and right and creating new experiences and interactive stories and fiction and shoot-'em-ups, and nobody really knows what to call them."
What I find so fascinating about story-driven games is that they can be easily confused with movies. The game series Uncharted is known for looking very much like a movie; while most video games have cut scenes to tell the story, Uncharted tells its story during both cut scenes and game play, and the camera angles and presentation are designed to look and feel just like a movie. In the words of the lead actor for Uncharted Nolan North "The line blurs between game play and cinematics."
A video game that I would argue feels even more like a movie than Uncharted is Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. That game has about eight and a half hours of total cut scene time, with the longest cut scene being twenty one minutes long. Forget movies, I'd confuse this with a TV series! I can totally see how someone would think that Metal Gear Solid 4 (MGS4 for short) is not a video game. In fact, about a year ago, a couple of friends and I spoke on a podcast about video games. One of them brought up the fact that IGN had given MGS4 a perfect review score, but the other friend totally disagreed, saying that the total cut scene time for MGS4 is enough to "bring it down in terms of an actual game." Personally, I partially agree with his statement. In my opinion, if you define MGS4 as a game, then it's not a game very often, because most of the time spent is during the cut scenes, therefore, it's a movie most often and doesn't serve its purpose as a game very well. However, if you think of MGS4 in broader terms and define it as a piece of entertainment, then it's very good; it's got an incredible story, presentation is top-notch, and it controls very well.
So, what is a video game? Well, it can be whatever you want it to be.
This posts's title is a reference to one of Alex Faciane's signature lines. Alex is a gaming journalist, so writing is supposedly a large part of his job, and when it comes to writing, writing can be articulate, inarticulate, efficient, and/or inefficient, but what I think is most important about writing is being true to yourself and/or your voice.
When I say "be true to yourself," I mean "write like you talk." In other words, if you're writing for homework, writing for non-fiction, or simply writing as yourself, write in a style that's conversational, and sounds like you (in most cases, not writing like yourself is impossible). However, if you're trying to be professional and your usual style of talking involves excessive swearing and/or excessive grammatical errors, you might want to think about changing that. For example, instead of using the "S" word, say "defecate," and instead of saying "You done good," say "You did well." I think it's incredibly valuable to write in the same way that you speak because it helps people recognize that you're still a person, a human, relatable, person. My Dad is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, and his sermons are always written in a personal, conversational style, which helps to connect to and understand what he's talking about. I hate when people try to write in a way that makes them sound intelligent, but just ends up making them sound artificial, and not genuine, and, ultimately, not like them; I don't want to read something written by Joe and end up saying "Joe didn't write this."
When I say "be true to your voice," I mean "write like your character." In other words, if you're writing in a particular voice, for example, writing dialogue for a character, write in a way that you think that character thinks. For example, the character of Super Mario only ever says about one to three word phrases; if he jumps high, he'll say "Yipee!" not "I am gaining altitude!" The latter phrase might be more articulate and intelligent sounding, but it's not Mario!
Characterization is incredibly important when you're telling a story. One of the things they say at Pixar is that everything that happens in a movie exists to serve the story, and writing is a huge part of that, but animation plays a pretty big part as well. In the game God of War, the character of Kratos is incredibly mean, brutal, and merciless, and you can tell all of that simply by looking at him move (or not move, for that matter). Kratos has a very intense and brutal fighting style, through which, you can tell that he has the strongest intentions of killing things, and even his idle pose looks strong with his chest out, his legs apart, his arms apart, and his fists clenched. Compare him to Spider-Man, who is much more graceful and agile and not nearly as brutal.
Most of the time, good writing is essential, but that all depends on what you're doing. The video game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has very long cut scenes, that are presented in the style of a movie. Arguably, most of the time spent during the game is spent watching the cut scenes. Also arguably, this makes the game bad, however, in my opinion, if you take the game not as a video game, but simply as a piece of entertainment media, then it is an amazing work of art, because the writing is good, the presentation is good, the game play is good, and it functions very well as both a video game and a movie. However, long, cinematic cut scenes are not the only way to tell a story in video games; the game Doom simply has short text-boxes which tell the story, and the writing isn't nearly as good as it is in Metal Gear Solid 4, but because the story and writing of Doom is not nearly as strong of a focus as it is in Metal Gear Solid 4 and the game is fun to play, the game is still very good. If Doom tried to tell it's story with long, cinematic cut scenes, like Metal Gear Solid 4, then the bad writing would definitely drag Doom down because the writing would carry much more weight.
I cannot express how important good writing is in most media. To me, more than anything, good writing is a good representation of something; articulation, grammatical correctness, and clarity are all important, but the thing that will destroy any story is out of place writing. If you're watching a movie or a TV show which is set in medieval times but the characters are using modern, american swear words, it just wouldn't fit, and doesn't make any sense, because it's not an accurate representation of what they're trying to portray, which is the medieval time period. If the media is set in a post-apocalyptic version of the modern real world, modern, american swear words work well because they're all over the place in this world. This is one of the things I praise the God of War series for; God of War has a lot of gratuitous blood, gore, and violence, but the language is very minimal, because God of War is set in Ancient Greece, a time period in which people don't speak that way. Whenever you include adult content in media, you should never include it just for the sake of including it, you should only include it if it helps to tell the story or set the mood or to benefit your media in some other way.
I've always wondered what Jirard and Alex's first video games were.
My very first video game was Toy Story 2 for the Dreamcast. Oh Dreamcast, you died so young (but not as young as the PS Vita). It's very interesting to me how first games can really have a significant impact on you and your opinions. With Toy Story 2 being my first video game, I think it really made me love music in video games (because the soundtrack is pretty sweet!) I also think it made me love movies a lot more, because I already loved the movie Toy Story 2 before I played the game, but playing the game made me love the movie even more (there's something about telling stories in video games that movies just don't quite do, and I think it's putting you, the player, in the shoes of the character (but that's another show)).
Here are my childhood games in a nutshell: Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, and Sly Cooper.
My very first Sonic game was Sonic Adventure. This is a very interesting first Sonic game because, unlike most Sonic games, it's heavily focused on story (fun fact: it was originally going to be a role playing game, but this idea was quickly scrapped, but the idea for having a focus on story stuck). This game and Sonic Adventure 2 influenced me by making me love music and story in games. To this day, Sonic music is still by far my favorite video game music. When it comes to story, Sonic Adventure does a really cool thing with their storytelling; the game doesn't tell you this, but when you first select your character, you're seeing their side of the story, so the game tells one overarching narrative, but you see the story from the perspective of the character you're currently playing as. There's one scene in particular in the first Sonic Adventure with the character of Gamma that really impacted me (to avoid spoilers, skip to the next paragraph). Gamma is a robot and in his story, he saves his brother robots by destroying them, freeing the captured animal inside. The last one is his older brother named Beta. In the final battle against Beta, Gamma destroys him, but right before he is destroyed, Beta quickly attacks and destroys Gamma! Beta is freed, and turns into his true self: a little brown bird. As Gamma is slowly "dying," sad music plays (to the tune of his theme song) and Gamma transformed into his true self: a little pink bird, and the brown bird and pink bird live happily ever after! This scene made a huge impact on me as a kid and just straight up blew my mind! It told me that video games can have a really good story, which made me absolutely fall in love with story-focused games.
I also played the Crash Bandicoot games as a kid (mostly Crash 3). These games made a decent impact on me because it turned me into a pretty big fan of platformers; while most people today are playing their Call of Dutys and Halos, I'm playing Super Mario 3D World! It also made me love animation in games. Crash Bandicoot is a pretty quirky character, and I always imitated his victory dance. The company that made Crash Bandicoot, Naughty Dog, has also made games such as Jak and Daxter, Uncharted, and The Last of Us, and the animation of each new game is more impressive than the last. I would love to be an animator some day!
I've "one-hundred-percented" Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon more times than I can count. I've primarily played Spryo 2 and 3, and I never played Spryo 1 as a kid (though I did go back and one-hundred-percent it later). More than anything though, I would say that the "Legend of Spyro" trilogy definitely had a bigger impact on me than the original trilogy. The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning was the first video game I played to feature famous actors, such as Elijah Wood, David Spade, and Gary Oldman, and it was the first video game I've ever played that has an incredibly cinematic intro; when I first saw those opening credits, I remember thinking to myself "This looks just like a movie!" That game made me fall in love with cinematic games like Uncharted, and it also reinforced my love of narrative-driven games.
Ratchet & Clank is my favorite, period. Ratchet is my all-time favorite video game character (with Nathan Drake as a close second). I was thinking about the difference between things being realistic and things being cartoony or fantastical. This opinion isn't completely set in stone, but I think realistic things are inherently relate-able, and they work to make it fantastical; for example: Uncharted; fantastical things are inherently fantastical, and they work to make it relate-able; for example: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I feel like Ratchet & Clank is a really good mix of fantastical and relate-able, because Ratchet is a Lombax, a space alien, with all kinds of crazy guns, but they make Ratchet's personality and his relationship with Clank realistic and understandable.
Sly Cooper is just awesome! If there's one thing I've learned from the first Sly Cooper game, it's keep the focus on game play, because that game doesn't have a huge focus on storytelling, graphics, or animation, but it's just incredibly fun to play, which makes it a good game! Not only that, but Sucker Punch, the company that made Sly Cooper, is really good at what they do. The character of Sly Cooper is well-designed, well-written, and just straight-up sly! Sucker Punch's other games, such as the inFAMOUS series, is also really good. As I was playing through inFAMOUS: Second Son, I stopped and thought to myself "This game reminds me of why I love inFAMOUS so much," and it's one of those games that, while playing it, it's easy to forget that it's so good.
Oh, the nostalgia!
It's pretty clear that Jirard and Alex are awesome, and they seem to be really enjoying playing Banjo Kazooie and L.A. Noire, but in today's episode of Super Sleuth Bros, Alex was very heavily criticizing the driving mechanics of L.A. Noire. He was pretty upset, which I found to be interesting, considering the fact that he seemed to be enjoying the game so far. Granted, reactions like that happen a lot in games; people really like it, but there might be a really hard part that makes them mad, but those reactions tell me that they don't like the game for a few moments. So, moments like that beg the questions: "Do I like the game?" or "Is this a good game?" and for that matter "What is a good game?"
First of all, I think it's very important to make a distinction between a good game and a game that someone likes personally. Granted, there are different ways of interpreting the semantics of it; one could say that they like a game, therefore, it's good to them, but you might like a game more than another game, but the other game got a sequel and yours didn't, which probably says something about the quality. What I'm talking about is true objectivity vs. personal preference. If a game is well-designed and/or it runs well from a technical aspect (load times, frame rates, etc.), then it's probably good, but if you enjoy or don't enjoy playing it, then that's your personal preference. An example of a game that is objectively good that I like is Uncharted 2: Among Thieves; this game is objectively good because the graphics look great, the game play is challenging and controls well, the acting is good, and the cinematography and story-telling is well-done, and I like it a lot personally because I enjoy the game play, I like the story, I enjoy the humor, and I love the characters, especially Nathan Drake. An example of a game that is objectively good that I don't like is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night; this game is objectively good because it controls well, there's a huge environment to explore, there's a ton of stuff to find, and there's multiple endings, but I didn't like it personally because I had no idea what I was doing, and I didn't feel like the game did a very good job of explaining to me how to play it. An example of a game that is objectively bad that I like is Sonic the Hedgehog 2006; this game is objectively bad because the cut scenes are sloppily put together, it doesn't control well, load times are really long, and there's just a lot of bugs and glitches all throughout the game, but I like it personally because I like the characters (mostly out of nostalgia), I think the plot is interesting (albeit pretty weird), I can enjoy the game play despite all of the bugs, and the music is awesome! An example of a game that is objectively bad that I dislike is Dalmatians 3; this atrocity by Phoenix Games was reviewed by Caddicarus in his video titled "THE WORST GAME EVER MADE;" I haven't played Dalmatians 3, but I can tell based on everything Caddicarus said in his video that I would have a terrible experience with it. Point is: if you like a game such as Dalmatians 3, it would still be a terrible game, and if you dislike a game such as Uncharted 2, it would still be an amazing work of art.
So, what is the definition of a good game? One definition that comes to my mind is a game that people like, now as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, a game that you like and a game that's objectively good are not always one in the same; however, if a bunch of people really like and enjoy the game, then true objectivity doesn't really matter, at least not to them because they're enjoying it so much. Another potential definition of a good game is a game that sells well, and I what I find most interesting about this definition is that, since money allows people to make games, then a game that makes a lot of money has potential to make a lot more games (the Call of Duty series comes to mind); still, games can sell well but still get bad reviews, and one example of this instance is the game Sonic Unleashed. One of the first potential definitions of a good game that comes to my mind is a game that controls well; for some games, this is a very good definition, such as Mario games, which don't have much of a story, but they're good because they're fun to play; however, for games such as Heavy Rain or Until Dawn, in which the story is the focus and the game play is not, that definition doesn't apply very well, because if those games controlled well but the story was bad, then they wouldn't be good games. A pretty strong definition of a good game is a game that makes an impact on you; for example, Heavy Rain can make an impact on you because of the emotional story, or Sonic Generations might make an impact on you because of the rush of a Sonic game with all of the intense speed, so something that's memorable is good; however this isn't a perfect definition either because if, for example, a platformer controls well and the levels are well designed, but you don't find it memorable, it's still a good game; for example, the Call of Duty series is infamous for making the "exact same thing" every year, but the games are still very good because they control well, and they run at sixty frames per second on every system.
I think this is the best good game definition I can come up with: The definition of a good game is a game that does what it does well. Every game has (or should have) a specific focus of what they're trying to do. For some examples, Shadow of the Colossus has you fight gigantic monsters, Heavy Rain tells a very emotional and/or powerful story, and Ratchet & Clank has you use and upgrade big and awesome guns, and all of those games are very good because they do their respective thing well. To use the example of L.A. Noire, the driving controls might not be very good, but the focus of the game is not the driving, it's the challenge of being able to tell whether or not someone is lying, and it's implemented very well in this game, therefore, L.A. Noire is a good game.
Hey y'all, I wanted to start a discussion on Jirard and Alex's adventures as bear and bird.
I love completion Let's Plays. When Markiplier played Until Dawn and found all of the secret totems and showed the "Pieces of the Past" video (or whatever it's called), I thought that was great. I can definitely see how someone would dislike that, the argument being "He should play it blind in order to get the best experience," and while I would agree with that for most play-throughs of certain games, when you're doing a Let's Play that an audience with expectations is going to see, you know that they're going to want to see all the extra stuff.
I also love when Let's Players play their favorite games ever. I really enjoyed watching Jacksepticeye play Shadow of the Colossus because it was obvious that he was having a lot of fun, and it's obvious that Jirard and Alex are enjoying Banjo Kazooie. The tricky thing about deciding when to do a Let's Play of your all-time favorite game is that you really want the series to turn out well, and you really want to make it count; in my personal experience, my favorite game was the very first game I had ever let's-played, and those videos were, shall we say, lackluster, which isn't suprising, conidering it was my first Let's Play ever. I'll probably revisit it some day in the future, but not until I know that I'm capable of making good videos.
This is going to sound wierd to say, but Banjo Kazooie is my favorite game that I've never played, because I've seen multiple Let's Plays of it, and it looks super fun, but I've never played it myself; I've never owned a Nintendo 64, and I don't own an Xbox 360 or an Xbox One.
Concerning Banjo Tooie, part of me wants to see Jirard play it because I want to see what it's like, but the other part of me really doesn't because, as I said before, I love seeing Let's Players having fun, but Jirard doesn't seem to like Banjo Tooie.
Hey y'all, I wanted to start a discussion on Jirard and Alex's adventures as cops.
I've been playing this game as I've been watching them play it (I would play a section, and then watch them play what I've played), and I gotta say, they are much better detectives than me. Of course, the self-said type of game that I'm bad at is games where you have to use your head. I also definitely think it has something to do with the fact that they have two people working together to bounce their thoughts off of, not to mention that Jirard watches Lie to Me. I've watched every episode through episode fourteen, and so far, they've had a perfect score for interrogations. They probably are just perfect dics,* but I have a slight suspicion that Jirard might be following a walkthrough (I don't think they are, but considering how well they're doing, it wouldn't surprise me).
There was one thing about this series that really stuck out to me. Normally, Jirard plays while Alex commentates and shares trivia, and Alex is usually better at picking up on things than Jirard, but in this series, Alex is playing while Jirard is commentating and sharing trivia, and Jirard seems to be better than Alex at picking up on things.
- "Dic" is short for detective (I think)
I want to submit my level for them to try, how do I go about doing that?
Here is my Pipe Dreams (2393-0000-0041-6CDE) level.