Talk about anything and everything Squad-related here -- what you've been playing, what you're looking forward to, and how big your Pile of Shame has grown after that last Steam sale...
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Teryn

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Re: 2014 - Bountiful Harvest

by Teryn » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:56 pm

Alex Connolly wrote:Whether you're trying to pimp an ATC simulator or a Japanese dating game, it'll always be a hard sell to those who rarely, if ever, veer off the highway.

It feels a bit sad, though, that some might not even enjoy similar experiences at all. My brother was always the perfect AAA consumer (at least to the devs/producers minds). He'd get the latest thing, finish it (or get mad at me for finishing it first), and then probably put it up for trade in 3-6 months to get credit for another game, usually a new-ish one. Lather, rinse, repeat. Shouldn't have let him trade away so many.

Sorry for going a bit off-topic, just been really irked by his gaming habits for years. Augh.

In short, it sucks that a lot of people don't seem to appreciate going off the beaten path, and maybe never will... that's the sad part.
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Re: 2014 - Bountiful Harvest

by RedSwirl » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:02 am

Alex Connolly wrote:It's the same as film for me. I don't want a cinematic diet consisting of the same old canned bombast. Michael Bay movies cost the Earth, but you're sure as hell not going to walk out of the theatre with a changed perspective or packing fuel for discussion. You'll wander away with short-lived recall on the expense of the shot, the level of pyrotechnics and the pleasant but disposable taste of buttered popcorn in your mouth.

The triple A realm is a risk-averse showcase of expensive iteration.

It's not even a case of being a so-called hipster in gaming for wanting something interesting. It's wanting to support the intellectual and artistic growth of the medium. I'll be the first to suggest it's not primarily from a place of altruism. No, hell no. It's because I personally want to be inspired and challenged. I want to see boundaries pushed, not nests feathered. And it seems, for the most part, the higher the price goes for games, the more boring they get.

Give me my mid-tier published titles and below any day of the week. 2014 has been stellar in that regard.


See, right now I'm totally fine with big-ass expensive explosion movies, though it's probably because I don't watch too many movies per year. I'll admit I'm no longer voluntarily going to theaters for all these movies, but if I have an easy rental or streaming system, or if I just happen to flip past such a movie on HBO, I don't mind sitting in front of it. I am definitely not a movie connoisseur. In fact I'm probably the movie equivalent of all the people who do limit their gaming entirely to $60 console games.

To further what I've been feeling for games, I came across a Destiny review that basically says "yep, it's a AAA video game, with everything AAA video games have these days," and that's pretty much how I feel about all these games. I feel differently about GTA V because that franchise, and Rockstar in general, is the head of the pack which means it doesn't necessarily have to follow anyone. It's the one trend-setting franchise that can afford to innovate a little bit with a $250 million budget. I think that innovation is really what we're missing.

I'm also very cautiously optimistic about Assassin's Creed Unity. Above I noted the source of this whole problem might be big developers having to stick with the same consoles for far too long, which in combination with their budgets has hamstrung creativity for three years straight. I have a feeling, or at least I'm hoping, that being able to stretch their legs when working only on next-gen will allow those developers to start pushing things forward again. This could start happening with The Witcher 3, Batman Arkham Knight, Bloodborne, and Evolve. There's a chance AC Unity could be the vanguard of that wave. Usually when new consoles come out, the first wave of really defining games for them arrive a year later, but that whole wave aside from Unity got delayed to early 2015. Plus, what I've heard about Unity makes it seem like the game is making some of the most fundamental changes to the AC formula ever. Instead of throwing more crap to do into the game, it actually seems like Ubisoft is willing to subtract things from the design in order to make room for more meaningful changes. We'll see.
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Re: 2014 - Bountiful Harvest

by RedSwirl » Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:00 am

Actually I have another option for what to do with that $60 that just got free'd up by GTAV's PC delay: Buy an aftermarket heat sink so I can overclock my CPU and hopefully get a better framerate in ArmA III. Mods alone ensure I could spend more than enough time playing that game to justify the heat sink and the cost of the game.
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Re: 2014 - Bountiful Harvest

by Beige » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:42 pm

Yall know how I feel about this topic. I just posted a huge-ass tangential thread (nominally about Destiny?) on the subject in an alternate squad board.

I've said for years to Lynette that I will formally acknowledge that gaming has a problem when I run out of things that I'm personally interested and excited to play on the horizon. Until then, play ball.

This mass extinction, this creative drought which I had feared has not happened in the slightest - and in fact the portion of gaming catering to my precise set of whims has blossomed and flourished wonderfully since 2011, though it is doing it all very quietly and off-book under the rocks and logs of gaming's rainforest. The last 3 years have seen an incredible shift towards the good both in conceptual tone and quality compared with the last (perhaps The Last?) console cycle.

I've had my Xbox 360 collection sitting on the kitchen table and staring me in the face each breakfast for about 2 weeks now and looking back on that giant green stack is certainly a nostalgic experience --lots of good memories there: Mass Effect, Hashassin's Creed, weird stuff like Lost Oddyssey. It's the 1980s all over again where your choice was as simple as whether you were in or out vis-a-vis He-Man, Robotech and Transformers and the Goonies and MASH and Cheers etc. Where the choice was always just about whether you were participating in the collective thingamajig or abstaining... not whether or not you were hopping into one of a thousand pools scattered about the landscape.

From my position as impending judge and executioner over my XBOX curation, I come to the conclusion that it contains nothing I can't throw back into the lake with a good conscience. Lots of crackdowns, lots of GTA IVs, lots of Far Cry 2. Experiences where I can say "I was there" but which came and went without much of an emotional or memorial impact. All our eyes were on the same things in those days, sure... and often these were great things... but most of them were pretty routine. I can live without additional Darksiders and Halo Reach in a postmodern world. It's better now.

When Pete was visiting last year is when I built my Steambox, and I feel like that was the correct time to jump ship from AAA. Perhaps the Steambox was inevitibale and gaming'd just hit critical mass for people like me around that time. The Steambox ushered in an era which began with Blood Dragon, FTL, oddball adventure games, things like Majesty, Tropico... Steam weirdness and has continued through this 'n that. I expect it to continue. I have 30+ kickstarted games arriving shortly on the platform.

Experiences I have loved and that has been worth my time in the last 3 years: Xenoblade, Brothers, Walking Dead, La-Mulana, Monster Hunter, Saya no Uta, Shadowgate... the list goes on. Mostly smaller fare stuff, markedly different from my 360 collection. High concept -- often single serving or at least <10 hrs. Sometimes medium budget (Japan is here), but increasinly not so much -- with ever increasing amounts of heart 'n soul.

I've been heartened to see in the last 3 years by what appears to my eyes to be a grand exodus of top talent from the AAA landscape of same old same old towards passion projects. It's obvious that people my age who have worked in gaming all their lives havetaken Warren Spector's advice and have sat up, turned around, taken stock and decided that what they really want to spend their time producing is stuff like Firewatch, Divinity and the Long Dark rather than Halo VIII. There's still a place for Halo, sure... but biodiversity. Writer of Spec Ops: "I'm leaving AAA, not games."

One of my big advantages I feel is that being from the Old Skool I have the proper language and vocabulary to appreciate and enjoy games that look on the surface like something produced at the time of the NES or Resident Evil 2. Daedelic entertainment makes strange weird but enjoyable adventure games that play like Monkey Island and Rogue Legacy looks and sounds like Symphony of the Night. 30 years of staring at (and ultimately beyond) flash and polish has primed me to accept things like, oh, Indonesian Ghost Horror at face value. To enjoy Deadly Premonitions and Shovel Knights without the need for autotune, which is a HUGE advantage if what you want to do is root around searching for delicious grubs and worms under the rocks of Early Access / Indie / Smalltime. Talking to the guys at my office, this is by no means universal. I suspect my younger coworkers would look at Kero Blaster or Deadly Premonition and go ".... uhhhh". Their loss.

I hope that this love of lo-fi is something that can be imprinted on Da Youth. Minecraft sure as hell says it can. As the ABC After School Specials taught me growing up, It's what's inside that counts. The 7 year old who recoreded Ninja Gaiden NES sountrack loops on his monural casette player so that he could listen to them over and over again rejoices.

Which is to say (for the Squadron of Shame at least) It's Our Time. More than ever, It's Our Time Down Here.

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