The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
In just a few days, the gaming industry will descend upon the chaotic Los Angeles Convention Center floors. During the ensuing three days of video game madness, they will be assailed by waves of information from publishers, developers, and console manufacturers with the latest in gaming innovation and cheap marketing swag.
Some of us started gaming at the ground floor, playing games with no story and rarely having context for the reason the events of the game were taking place with the games only acting as escapes for the sake of entertainment. Others experienced complex storylines like Metal Gear Solid 4 as their very first video game, maybe even deciding to look further back and experience the storytelling history of the hobby. Regardless, we all experience our own personal evolutions when it comes to stories in video games as well as how those stories are presented to us simply because there are so many titles out there to play that many of us will never get to. And with so many current titles, it can be difficult for newer gamers to find the time to play the games of the past. What follows is my personal evolution through story elements in video games.
This blog is written in response to Chris Mrkvicka's challenge for Memorial Day blogs.
Ever since his introduction to the world in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda has been viewed as the wise instructor of Luke Skywalker. George Lucas presented his goblin-esque character as the unexpectedly wise man who changes the course of history through his wisdom, supposedly showing Lucas' indie producer underdog side. However, as I have grown up and continued to watch Star Wars, I have come to see Yoda in a different light, as the repressed half senile/half-lunatic side of Lucas that eventually took over and decided to create Jar Jar Binks.
The world seems to be in a state of financial chaos. Game developers and publishers seem to implode only months after making massive sales on their most recent titles. For some, this has caused a bit of a stir. The other day, I noticed a particular user's profile comment, stating something along the lines of them not being able to wait until the video game market crashed again, just like in 1983. Though I understand this person feels only a crash could make the industry the way they wanted, I believe it shows a lack of understanding of the cause of the crash and how the industry could handle similar situations now.
The other day I found myself on the Entertainment Software Association's (ESA) website, flipping through some of their many reports on the state of the video game industry when I happened across something seemingly out of place. Under a section called "Games: Improving What Matters" I found a report and an article titled "In-Game Advertising". Finding this to be something of an oddity with a section about "what matters", I went ahead and read the article and was astounded by the claims and information presented.
Not long ago, I was listening to a writer's lecture featuring my favorite science fiction and fantasy author: Orson Scott Card (writer of Ender's Game, Xenocide, Ender's Shadow, and a wide array of other excellent books). During this particular lecture, he openly addressed a frequent question he receives: will Ender's Game (his most popular novel to date) be made into a movie? While the answer was "yes" and the confirmed cast listing to that date was impressive (Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley to name a couple), he made an interesting observation. To paraphrase (poorly, I might add), he observed that modern society seems to view the big screen as the ultimate medium, with readers wishing their favorite books would be turned to movies. This transition will frequently kill a book for me as the way I had envisioned a character or a scene is completely different or portions of the book I enjoyed are ignored altogether.
Those who know me well (or have read my profile) know I place a fair amount of emphasis on studying the past, be it my personal ancestors, military/national history, etc... it is all important. This is no less important in our hobbies.
I honestly cannot help it; I am a Star Wars junkie. I have read nearly every Star Wars novel and comic book written (for those unaware, there are well over 100 novels and short stories out there in the Star Wars universe), even my two sons have Star Wars inspired names (though they are not obvious like Obi-wan, or Yoda). So, it is no surprise I would put aside my angst for PC games and the MMO genre to play a Star Wars game with a story.
A few days ago, I happened to mention to a friend that I was having problems coming up with an interesting, and comical, topic for my blog. As I stated on my recent visit to the Indie and Mojo Show (please don't hold them responsible for my unpopular opinions, they are great guys), I had been experiencing a serious level of writer's block. In response, my friend pointed me to an "informative" document warning the public of potential indicators of terrorist activities in internet cafes put out by the Department of Justice and the FBI using taxpayer's money. Yes, my friends let the hilarity ensue.
I was reading the news headlines this morning and noticed a headline noting a girl who saved a school from repeating the sad incident that occurred at Columbine High School in Colorado some 12 years ago. It reminded me of a book I read in 2011, a book I feel should be shared.
So, this is it, the final blog I am going to write summarizing the Stop Online Piracy Act. For those who stuck it out through the four parts prior to this, you deserve a medal and I really wish I could give you one. Hopefully, you have walked away from all of this being able to hold your own in a debate on the subject regardless of the side you have chosen to take (if you have chosen a side, of course).