This month in “Versus Mode” we have:
COLIN GREENHALGH VS. ADAM RYLAND
Colin Greenhalgh is a current GameCola staff member who appears on “The GameCola Podcast” and sometimes writes reviews. He is also a graphic artist with a major videogame developer. This is his third appearance in “Versus Mode,” having written previously with Meteo Xavier and in “NewbieMania.”
Adam Ryland is currently employed as a Lead Designer with Grey Dog Software. In this capacity, he designs and develops MMA and pro-wrestling management simulators, in which players get to own and operate their own companies—hiring and firing fighters and wrestlers, putting together matches and big pay-per-views, dealing with injured and obstinate performers, and doing just about everything else related to running one of these organizations. Adam is perhaps most famous for developing the Extreme Warfare line of pro-wrestling sims. This is his first appearance in “Versus Mode.”
Adam’s newest title, World of Mixed Martial Arts 2, was released in April of this year, and you can check it out by clicking here.
Colin: This is a tough question, especially in a “Versus Mode” that also has to do with piracy (see topic #2). The gamer in me, though never a huge fan of the Chrono series, wants to say “Yeeaaah, fuck you Square Enix. Down with the maaaaaaaaaan,” but, as an artist, I can understand why a company wouldn’t want a bunch of guys who just hacked the game engine to tell their own story.
I think Square Enix had EVERY right to shut Crimson Echoes down. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that they have the legal ability to decide its fate. The question here, however, is if they should have shut it down. In this instance, with a game that’s 14 years old, no, they shouldn’t have. I can see why Square would want to, with the recent re-release of Chrono Trigger on the DS, but cut these fans some slack. A group of people honoring or even parodying a game and releasing their own game for free to the community couldn’t possibly harm the product. No one’s going to play this game that hasn’t previously played (and paid for) the original or wouldn’t want to purchase the original afterward. I understand that perhaps you don’t want someone to just put raunchy, cuss-filled text into your game, but something like this seems innocent and solely for people who would have paid Square Enix to make it, which they obviously have no interest in doing and have stated so before.
Adam: This is a deep and complex issue that touches upon many interesting areas, including intellectual property laws, whether characters and concepts in the public domain automatically give the fans a degree of inherent ownership, and the relationship between developers and consumers. These are topics that explore murky philosophical gray areas.
Fortunately, I’m not a philosopher. I’m a game developer, and I’m more concerned with selling my latest game (which, incidentally, is World of Mixed Martial Arts 2—available now fromwww.GreyDogSoftware.com for just $34.95—a strategy game that was called “exceptional” by the wonderful folks at Operation Sports), so I’m going to tackle this question from the shallow perspective of its name. Purely on the grounds that they called it Crimson Echoes, a title that positively screams bad amateur vampire fanfiction, I think Square Enix made the right call. You have to draw the line somewhere, and I think most people would agree that the line should be wherever it is most likely to exclude whiny gothic nonsense.
Colin: People who develop for a specific system, which is usually the case for PSP/DS developers, always complain about this. Piracy happens on EVERY console. Music and movies get pirated, and they’re doing fine. Crime will exist no matter what. Here’s what you do to make a game that peoplewon’t pirate:
Make it good. Seems simple enough, but you’d be surprised! People will want to support your product with their dollar if it’s a product they love. If you look at a game and say, “I wouldn’t pay for it,” that’s what others are gonna say, too.
Have awesome multiplayer. Or at least an excuse to force players to connect to the Internet (a la Spore‘s user-created universes). People will want to pay for that experience.
Also, don’t say shit like the guy in the above article. People love pirating games from people they think are uptight douchebags.
Adam: I think one of the biggest reasons that piracy has become so rife—other than the fact that a lotof people are selfish, lazy and under-educated on how much financial impact stealing software can have on developers—is the term itself. Pirates have a cool,dangerous image, and so “piracy,” even when it’s to do with software, gets an automatic image boost as well. Really, calling it piracy just makes it all the more glamorous, especially as the majority of people doing it are young and male—prime pirate ages. The only way you could make it any more cool would be to call it “ninja-cy,” as such:
Person 1: Have you played World of Mixed Martial Arts 2, the top title from www.GreyDogSoftware.com?
Person 2: Why, yes I have—but I didn’t feel that the developer should be in any way compensated for months of work, so I got a NINJA COPY of it.
Person 1: Sweet, let’s go and play it; apparently top MMA Web site Bloody Elbow.com called it “highly recommended”!
You will notice that simply by using the word “ninja,” the act became 10% cooler than when it was “pirate.” Therefore, I feel strongly that the industry could do a lot worse than re-brand the term. As is common knowledge, the vast majority of Internet users find accusations of homosexuality to be the worst possible insult, and so by changing “pirate” to “gay,” you could almost immediately cut the rate by a large amount, as such:
Person 1: Have you played World of Mixed Martial Arts 2, the top title from www.GreyDogSoftware.com?
Person 2: Why, yes I have—but I didn’t feel that the developer should be in any way compensated for months of work, so I got a GAY COPY of it.
Person 1: Dude, that’s just wrong. I will no longer have anything to do with you. Furthermore, I shall immediately go and purchase a copy for the low price of $34.95.
And thus, piracy is reduced.
Colin: Buh? This is stupid. If you’re going to go that far, no one should get their hopes up about ANY game, because when’s the last time you’ve played the perfect game? Bullshit, I say. Get excited about games, enjoy them for what they are, and don’t be too nitpicky! Heck, the new Wolverine game is amazingly fun, and that’s licensed on a crap movie; think about the possibility of a Ghostbustersgame.
Anyway, who the crap cares if its gameplay is mediocre—it’s written by the original writers of the movie. I may be viewing this through nostalgia-tinted glasses, but I cannot wait for this game. I’m excited, and you should be, too.
Adam: I think it is extremely dangerous to suggest that raising hopes to a level that cannot possibly be satisfied is a bad thing. If everyone were to take this common sense approach, 90% of computer game journalism and forum activity would be eradicated. The current system, that of raising hopes so high that any major release will automatically be considered a let-down regardless of how good it is, has served us well for years, and I can find no reason to change it.
On a related note, I should point out that my games—including the award-winning World of Mixed Martial Arts 2, available now from www.GreyDogSoftware.com (a game “bound to impress fans of both MMA and the simulation genre,” according to GameZone)—are not licensed, and so do not have the same issues as Ghostbusters.
Colin: Konami, yes, probably. A big-name company working with such a touchy subject is just begging for some shmuck to slap ’em with a lawsuit. It’s unfortunate, but that’s what the world has come to. Even if the game didn’t really offend or did a good job telling the story of the brave men and women, someone would have been able to make some money off a lawsuit, and that’s enough to prevent this from happening. It’s a shame, really. I don’t think that censoring art is the right thing to do, and if this game had been done tastefully (as I’m sure Konami would have ensured), I can’t see how Six Days in Fallujah would have been overly offensive in any aspect.
Adam: This is a tough question. Not for moral reasons, but it’s quite a serious topic that is going to greatly restrict my ability to slip in a plug for my latest game, World of Mixed Martial Arts 2 from www.GreyDogSoftware.com, without appearing insensitive. I’ll have to try and slip it in toward the end instead.
I think this story is a case of a gamble that hasn’t paid off. The decision to base the game on an ongoing conflict must have been based, to some degree, on the fact that it would be bound to garner a lot of publicity due to its controversial nature, and that would lead to a boon in sales. I think the fact that it has back-fired and gone the opposite way—that it was too controversial to publish at all—might be a little bit deserved, a punishment for having been very cynical in their approach in the first place.
Colin: WHAT?! I’d heard about this before I sat down to write this article, but my reaction is still “WHAT?!” I don’t think I could warm to the idea that a slang of this caliber would be written down in text between other words with Latin roots. I don’t understand the trend of adding slang to the dictionary in the firs tplace. The whole point of slang is that it ISN’T proper English. That’s not necessarily the appeal of it, but it’s definitely the root cause of it. Of course, some ofthe other nominees for “official word” status aren’t great, either. Slapping “green” in front of anything doesn’t make it eco-friendly, just annoying.
Adam: This topic seems to be the very definition of a moot point—those who would use it seem unlikely to be the type to ever consult a dictionary, and those that wouldn’t would never use it even if it was. I would like to take this opportunity to point out that “n00bs” are more than welcome at www.GreyDogSoftware.com, where you can find many great games, including World of Mixed Martial Arts 2, which, according to 411Mania.com, is an “addictive, long-lasting experience that will have you coming back for more.”