A study of microtransactions in games

The business practice of selling small in-game content to players has become a reluctant norm of the modern gaming industry. The audience reaction to this varies widely between utter disgust to complete indifference. There are arguments for and against them but I am here to try and layout the argument for why they represent a very real threat to the medium that we all love.

The key argument I most often see in favour of microtransactions is that game developers and publishers are businesses that need to make money. The more impassive take the stance that if you don’t want them then nobody is forcing players to buy them. Both of these facts are true but don’t accurately reflect reality.

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Below is my evidence on why all players should take a stand against this business practice. Continue reading

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Nier Automata and Depression

The overarching theme of Nier Automata is that of humanity. It is of consciousness, awareness and the self.  What makes this interesting though is that there aren’t any human characters but instead artificial beings desperate to find meaning in their lives. It is a Sci-Fi trope as old as the genre yet it always evokes strong reactions because of the question it raises about the fundamentals of what humanity actually is.

Depression is an illness that preys upon the darker aspects of humanity and the uncertainty that surrounds it. To be depressed is often to question the core pillars that hold up our individual lives and the structure of society. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Is there something more?Why can’t I get to be where I want to be? Why don’t I fit in? What right do I have to this life when so many more deserving died before their time? It is a constant cycle of darkness that needs to be fought constantly so that it doesn’t simply overwhelm you. Continue reading

Death in Games – Narrative/Mechanical Synergy

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Video games hold a unique position in media by being directly driven by the actions of its audience. Chose your own adventure type books and interactive movies have tried to achieve this to varying success but are held back by being limited to set outcomes.

Character death has been traditionally a big deal. When the protagonist dies, it is a monumental moment that often marks the end of the narrative. It is emotional and it has meaning. Games are the first medium where death just happens. Sure, narrative death in games holds true to its movie and book counterparts but mechanical death is treated in a very different way.

In early games, death was there as a fail state. The player lost and couldn’t experience the full game. Since each attempt meant another coin into the arcade machine, failure and death were a very common thing. Continue reading

Loot Boxes in Shadow of War

God Damn it, Warner Brothers Games. How many times do we have to watch the triple A gaming industry try to shoot itself in the feet to try and bleed out more cash from its customers? How many bad business practices and anti-consumer moves do we have to see before enough is enough. Will it ever be enough? Increasingly I doubt it.

*sigh* So, the incident that has sparked this is the announcement that WB Games will be adding loot boxes to Shadow of War. Loot boxes are shady enough at the best of times, but for a single player game that is full retail price and has paid DLC, it is simply shameless. Continue reading

Great games to play with non-gamers (that isn’t Nintendo).

Gaming is increasingly becoming a more mainstream hobby but there are still those who, for whatever reason, don’t play games. Maybe you want to involve family members in your passion, kill time with a non-gaming friend or introduce a romantic interest into your world. With so many games out there, which are the best for introducing new players to games while being enjoyable for all parties involved?

I am only including multi-platform games here. All of them will also be focused on local play too rather than online. Continue reading

Nier Automata – Final Thoughts (Updated Review)

Image result for nier automataHaving had a few weeks to mull over Nier Automata since completing it and taking the time to read/watch several reviews, I’d like to layout my final thoughts on the game and offer a closing review that coves the game’s whole scope rather than my first impressions review. Obviously there are spoilers ahead.

I’m not planning to retread old grown. My more general thoughts haven changed so for mechanics and the like you can read though my original review here, and for my feelings after Ending E that cover a major theme of the game then you can check out this.

My original score for Nier Automata was an 8, which in my system is a god score. Too much hyperbole exists within reviews now with many looking at anything less than a 9 as somehow bad. But for me, some of my all time favourite games I would score as low as 7 because to me a score should include mechanics, scope, characters, story and enjoyment. Something that I absolutely loved could be clunky and sparse of content while something I personally hate could be a masterpiece. In my head, an 8 is a great game that I would recommend to everyone. Continue reading

Nier Automata – The beauty of ending E (Spoilers)

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I recently posted my review of Nier Automata after completing ending A. I have now completed the final main ending (E) and have some thoughts that I need to put to paper. I will be talking about ending E so you have been warned.

In my initial review my biggest issue was with the characters. I felt that they lacked depth. I can safely say that this was resolved as the game progressed, especially in the case of 9S. I got a lot of hours out of the game and fully recommend the game to everyone.

That isn’t what I want to write about today though. I want to write about a moment that made me surprisingly emotional. The game is filled with tragedy but it was the end credits for ending E that really it me in the feels.  Continue reading