Topics in gaming news debated by GameCola writers and industry professionals.
In this edition of “Versus Mode” we have:
Matt Jonas is a current GameCola staff member who writes reviews and sometimes makes videos for our YouTube page, and this is his second appearance in “Versus Mode,” having written previously in NewbieMania II.
David Donovan: I’ve always been able to laugh when I lose, or at least stare in slack-jawed amazement at just how badly I’m losing. Likewise, I laugh when other people ragequit, and then I laugh at the people who rage at the ragequitters, and so on until I’m left standing alone in the middle of an empty arena laughing to myself. Still, I wouldn’t complain if developers found a way to solve the ragequitter problem. I worry though that despairquitters or ennuiquitters may also get caught up in the purge. Perhaps this calls for a creative use of the Wii Vitality Sensor, but even that could still unfairly target the medicalemergencyquitters.
Zangief regresses to an infantile stage when faced with ragequitting.
Matt Jonas: I’m a really bad ragequitter, especially when it comes to Halo. This is because I suck at Halo. I feel sympathy for those who can’t get a single frag, because I’ve been there; I know what being the ugly duckling is like. But we’ve got to face it: When we ragequit, we make ourselves look bad. Seriously, that’s the sign of an immature person right there. We should stand up and accept the punishment for quitting.
The only thing I see wrong with punishment for ragequitting is if people with really bad connection issues are going to be punished for being disconnected by their awful routers. There has to be some way of identifying this, and at the same time identifying ragequitters that just drop their net connection and get away with no punishment.
David: I don’t have a problem with a government-backed ratings system…in theory. It certainly would have added to the thrill, knowing that at any moment federal agents could have kicked in the door and put an end to our underaged Mortal Kombat ring. But in practice, I know any ratings system will be run by clueless people who are only out to demonize the latest newfangled phenomenon which doesn’t fit into their generation’s “we walked to school uphill both ways through a snowstorm while being strafed by the Luftwaffe” experience. Whenever I try to imagine what an ESRB ratings panel looks like, I always envision two little old ladies, a Russian Orthodox patriarch, and an astronaut in full spacesuit sitting on folding chairs watching footage of Katamari Damacy with perplexity; and yet this is undoubtedly better than whatever the government could wrangle together. The creeping shadow of human mortality is our ally on this issue: it’s only a matter of time until the gaming-savvy generations make their way into leadership positions…assuming our parents weren’t right about all those videogames rotting our brains.
Matt: Look here, JoshHaloSnipes9x0, we’re trying our best to stop you from playing games that might be a bit too violent for you. Too bad you don’t understand that we’re only doing this with your best interest in mind. Well, ours too, as we know how impressionable you can be, and nutcases like you are the reason I have my cutlery under lock and key.
Let’s grasp this point for a moment here, Joshua: Age ratings are there for a reason. They’re guidelines, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to treat them like actual rules. The age rating is there to protect you, protect us, and protect the developers who make the games. If Duke Nukem is dropping his pants to repopulate the human race, or Travis Touchdown is cutting people in half with a beam katana, then there is a general consensus that you really shouldn’t play games like this if you’re young. It’s the way of the world. Live with it.
David: Obviously, developers and publishers should care about the effects of the used-game market, and consumers should slap the companies around whenever they overreach in their efforts to curtail secondhand sales. I’ve always suspected that if the companies could have gotten away with it, they would have sent out armed thugs to patrol the school playgrounds and break our legs when we loaned games to each other as kids. The publishers are going to win in the end thanks to the inevitable shift to digital distribution, but for now gamers should vote with their dollars—buy new when it’s worth it, buy used when it’s not, and buy something else when a company pulls shenanigans.
Matt: As much as I don’t agree with this point, it makes monetary sense to give stuff to the people who are actually buying the games new and sealed. I’m a regular pre-owned buyer, with most of my Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 library consisting of used games. I love it when instead of blowing the full £35-£40 on an Xbox 360 game, I can instead pick it up for next to nothing. When it comes to Gamerscore, so long as the game is cheap, I buy my validation for less.
But what if the game is all about the online? Then yes, online games should have special bonuses for people who buy them new. The pre-owned users should feel small because the people who bought the game new have a Sgt. Johnson character with four special guns on their sixteenth Prestige rank. If I buy a game for the online, I’m more likely to shell out a bit extra, especially if it will make me look better than everyone else!
David: My ideas regarding what would make a good MMORPG are highly unorthodox (e.g., no leveling system whatsoever), so it’s probably best to take my opinion with a grain of salt or while discretely edging away. If the fatigue system were used to encourage players to actually interact and form grandiose world-altering schemes rather than spend all their time grinding and farming, I think it would be a wonderful idea. But I doubt that’s what Square has in mind or has even designed the game to allow players to do, so I’m not really sure what they’re thinking on this one. Actually, that goes for just about everything Square has done for, oh, the last decade.
Matt: I used to play a free-server version of Ragnarok Online, and I remember people used to (on the sly) sell in-game accounts for real money. I understand there are fitness concerns behind this idea, but it’s definitely that Square doesn’t want people making money off of their game.
Weigh up the reasons why this has been done. If you haven’t guessed that this is to stop account sellers, then you’re really slow today.
For every MMO, there’s a guy with forty PCs running forty different accounts, running bots that level up on weak enemies. He makes a fortune from selling these accounts to players who are too lazy to do the work themselves. There are people who deal in selling rare in-game items. This fatigue system is an obvious attempt to stop people farming accounts to reap in the profits. So long as it stops Uncle Bob from making dirty money off of the game, then it’s a fantastic idea.
The problem rests with the danger time being so low. I understand that if you’re a paid subscriber, you’re not going to want to “pay to not play the game,” if that makes sense. So there has to be a way of knowing if you’re a farmer or a general player. Two easy ways:
1. Notice any odd behaviour like always killing weak enemies and rarely travelling between areas (classic bot behaviour).
2. Link accounts with credit cards or other details, to make selling them very difficult and easier to trace. Then your fatigue limit can be more like eight or ten hours, as opposed to two.
I’m not against the idea at all.
David: I tend to shy away from the really wacky pairings (exceptions allowed for Bushido Blade Meets Party Babyz) and instead stick with characters who I could picture existing in the same world. For example, I think it’s about time they just admitted that Castlevania and Vampire Hunter D are actually the same series. I could also see F-Zero as being a sporting event which takes place in the Metroid universe, and at a stretch I’d allow Star Fox to be mixed in so long as there’s a 20-minute cutscene of Slippy Toad dying in the same manner as the Crocomire from Super Metroid. And I’d love to see some crossovers of the big stealth series (Thief and Assassin’s Creed, Metal Gear and Splinter Cell), but I’m pretty sure if done properly that would involve the characters not meeting each other.
Matt: First of all, I have got to say this—OHMYGODDIDYOUSEETHATTRAILER!?THISISSOOBVIOUSLYLITTLEBIGPLANETMEETSMEGAMAN!!OHMYGODITHINKI’MGOINGTOJIZM!
Sorry about that. Now that games have had a good two real decades to invent characters and series that we love, it is finally the time when crossover games can really have an impact. Intertextuality between games is far rifer than before (though with adventure games and first-person shooters it was always there). One step up from Sonic’s shoes and Earthworm Jim’s gun in a Donkey Kong Country game is to have characters cross over into different series.
Dante in Viewtiful Joe was very well received by gamers, and games like the Nintendo DS version of Track & Field give us cross-series characters competing against each other—but where the crossover wins over all others is when worlds and situations, as well as gameplay styles, are tied together.
In that sense, there are some pretty obvious crossover games I would love to see:
• Shonen Jump All-Stars vs. Capcom: If you’ve played the Nintendo DS Shonen Jump games (either of them), then you’re aware that they are very good fighting games. Every character from the Jump manga lore is in there somewhere. Dream matches of Naruto versus Ichigo with Gintoki from Gintama on support are possible in the Shonen Jump games. So what is the next obvious step? Mega Man battling against Hollow Ichigo: that’s the next obvious step. Make. It. Happen.
• Psykio vs. Capcom: Other than a slew of pornographic mahjong games, you may know Psykio best for developing Gunbird, Gunbird 2 and the Sengoku games. When it comes to vertical- and side-scrolling shooters, I really enjoy Psykio shooters because they’re insanely difficult and very well crafted.
Capcom helped Psykio whilst developing the Dreamcast port of Gunbird 2, and as a result, Darkstalkers’ Morrigan Aensland appears as a hidden playable character. They also worked with Psykio for the Dreamcast game Cannon Spike, which carried a Capcom license and Capcom characters. What I would love to see is a shooter that changes from over-the-shoulder to vertical-top-down to side-scroller in pure three-dimensions, like an incredible next-gen Gunstar Heroes and Contra crossover, carrying characters from Psykio and Capcom licenses. When Marion and Baby Bonnie Hood are shooting down waves of robotic terrors whilst avoiding relentless streams of rainbow-colour bullets, you’ll be thanking me proper.
• Duke Nukem: Hail to the Keen: Like any other studly morning, Duke Nukem finishes making love to a pair of “Hot Asian Twins” (whom are probably named Fook Me and Fook Yu, after the twins in Austin Powers in Goldmember). When Duke flicks on the television to check his stocks in the K-TIT company, the television signal is highjacked by a mad scientist Mortimer McMire, who announces that he is going to destroy everyone of lower intelligence than himself. Duke knows that this Mortimer McMire is a threat to all the babes of the world, so he sets off to find him and annihilate him.
Meanwhile, Billy Blaze, now a world famous astronaut, is travelling back from a routine flight to Vorticon VI, when he receives the same message. Thinking that he had finally stopped childhood-rival Mortimer McMire in his plans, Billy Blaze once again becomes Commander Keen, and takes his pogo-stick and raygun with him to defeat Mortimer McMire once and for all.
Now how fucking cool would this be!?