Unspoken rules of video games

Video games seem like something to play casually and to relax and enjoy yourself but this is actually not as it appears to be. Much like any relaxing activity such as bowling, golf and fishing; it gets turned into a competitive event. Video games are much the same thing. Pro-circut events like MLG have come out that has made competitive gaming a sport. Major games such as Halo, Gears of War and Call of Duty are featured and pros from all around the world come to compete at these events.

In the video game world a schism was created, a rift that divides gamers and casual players. Gamers expect people to abide by the unspoken rules of video games. These unspoken rules keep people from using cheap weapons and tactics which would otherwise make the game unbearable if all were to use them. Specifically tactics such as camping and the use of high damage weapons such as rocket launchers and the type. Friends of mine that attend MLG events yearly would rather die (in game of course) than to knife someone in COD unless they were out of bullets.

Have you ever been playing a game like Call of Duty when everything is going fine for the first couple of games with a group that you are currently with. No one is using shotguns, RPGs or anything of the short. All of a sudden one guy comes in and all he uses is a shotgun; the next thing you know everyone is running around knifing people, using noob tubes, camping in corners and the whole game goes into a downward spiral. Explosions are going off everywhere, glitches are being exploited and no one lives for more than a few seconds. It’s just an overall very unpleasant experience and it just takes one guy breaking the unspoken rule to turn the game upside down. The problem with this unspoken rule is that it really only applies to higher caliber players that are more or less competitive. The people who are causal players and just there to have fun could care less about these rules. This usually leads to the all too well known trash talking about how someone is a noob and so on and things become heated.

Hopefully since online console gaming is a pretty knew phenomenon there will be some control for this in the future. Maybe individual lobbies can be created with more strict rules for competitive gamers as well as a lobby for casual gamers where everything goes. I see that there are already certain rules being put into place for certain games where certain weapons are not allowed to be used in certain lobbies, people are not allowed to enter other lobbies if their aim assist is on and so on. Hopefully more of this will become prevalent and each gamer can find a lobby that fits their satisfaction.

Ah Pokemon the good ol’ days

Man I remember Pokemon, it was when I was in the 5th grade and everyone in my school and schools from all over the place were hooked on it. Everything from the game to the playing cards to even the movies and memorabilia. We would trade and compare cards, play the game with each other and battle or trade Pokemon. Me and my friends were so into the game back then that we could recognize the Pokemon just by the little sound that played when you encountered them. We would even quiz each other on evolutions, tricks and tips and the like. Of course that was only with the original 151 Pokemon. Everyone remembers the Blue and Red version? That was definitely the best; great childhood memories. I feel really attached to the original versions but I think they are beating a dead horse with the new versions that keep coming out. let’s see, after red and blue came yellow, then Silver and Gold. Then the remake of the original with Fire Red and Leaf Green followed by Ruby and Sapphire then Diamond and Platinum now finally Black and White. To be honest I probably missed a set in there somewhere.

Pokemon used to be so big, the trading card game was so popular that the good cards were as good as actual money in some places. The TV series was probably the highlight of every kid’s weeknight as they came out with new episodes every couple of weeks. What happened to games like this? Why was Pokemon so popular and why has nothing else been able to replicate its success? Honestly I wish games of this magnitude would come out more, it kind of unites everyone ya know? Its like something that everyone is interested in and can talk to others about. Its so rare that something as simple as a game could accomplish something like this but Pokemon is proof that a game can unite a nation. Everyone remembers the news reports of how Pokemon cards were banned in schools nationwide? That’s because everyone one in every school had them! It was like an epidemic! Sometimes I wish they would leave classic games like that alone instead of milking it until there is nothing left. I hope one day something becomes as popular as Pokemon so kids can have the same experience as we did with Pokemon

Achievements/trophies guiding game play

If you have an xbox 360 or a ps3 then you will be familiar with the system of achievements/trophies. For those of you who don’t know these are like little rewards that you get for completing specific missions or challenges within the game. For example; I’m currently playing Fallout New Vegas and one of the achievements in the game is to inflict 10,000 points of dmg with melee weapons. Upon completing this challenge a little pop-up at the bottom of my screen will appear saying that I have completed the achievement and tell me how many achievement points I have earned in association with completing the challenge. These points/accomplishments can be seen by players from all around the world and it is a little way of showing off some of the hard things that you have done. An example of a more difficult achievement would be beating Fallout New Vegas on hardcore mode. This achievemnt is worth a good ton of points and rightfully so because this is a rather hard achievement to get.

This new achievement/trophy system is new and has only appeared in this current generation of systems. The problem with this is that the achievements seem to be guiding the way in how games should be played. For instance, you start a quest and find out that this quest will not lead you to getting an achievement, many will not do the quest at all! Good games, however, will have achievements that encompass all aspects of the game but at the same time this will deter “achievement hunters”. These achievement hunters are the people who just try to maximize the number of achievements that they have so they go for the games/quests/challenges that are worth the most points and take the least amount of time to complete. I have one such friend with over 70,0000+ gamer points. To give you an idea I have about 25,0000 and a play video games quite a bit. It is my opinion that with the rise of the achievement/trophy system some people have turned to going for the goals set by the game and not enjoying the game itself. It should be the case that people should just play the game to enjoy playing and not be stressed out about going for the goals set by the game. I feel that the achievement idea is a nice way of rewarding players for the accomplishments but at the same time is detracts from some people actually playing the game.

Another side note about achievements is that they seem to be getting easier. It used to be that games had a set amount of achievements that could only be gotten by skill or in some instances pure luck. A couple of examples of this would be from Halo 3; get 4 kills within 4 seconds of each other   in a free for all match or get 10 kills without dying in a free for all match. For those of you who don’t play Halo, those are really hard to do! especially since you are matched with people at or very close to your skill level, it takes a lot of practice and skill to be able to pull that off. Newer games, even newer versions of Halo have removed these difficult challenges and replaced them with easier but more grueling tasks such as find all the easter eggs in the game or reach level 20, where level 20 can be reached irregardless of skill. I miss the old achievements that took real skill to get because those are the achievements worth bragging about. Just my humble opinion

Things that ruin COD

In a game that is supposed to be realistic, the last two installments in the COD series have been pretty disappointing. Both Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops are very enjoyable games but there are so many issues within the games that games like Halo have become much more realistic than the COD series.  Let’s start with Modern Warfare 2; Everyone remember pain killers? Pain killers made you take significantly reduced damage, enough to allow you to survive predator missiles, 3 sniper shots to the head (the third one would kill you), multiple other explosions as well as a knife (which is supposed to be a one hit kill). I don’t care what kind of drugs you’re on, nothing should be able to make you survive a missile or a sniper shot to the head.

Following up with the knife, everyone remember commando?  A player with commando on could lunge about 15-20 feet, during which, he could not be damaged. And why is a knife a one hit kill anywhere on the body when a sniper rifle is not? This also begs the question of why the best weapon in a FPS is a knife. Whoever said ‘never bring a knife to a gunfight’ obviously never play COD6/MOD2.  If you look up the stats for a Barrett .50 Cal you will see that it has an effective range of over a mile, yet no map is a mile long in any direction (yes there are ways to measure this.), so in essence every shot should be a one hit kill but it rarely is unless you have stopping power and FMJ on. Black Ops attempts to remedy this situation brought up by the players by putting in weaker sniper rifles such as the L96A1 and the PSG1 which are less than half as powerful as the previous Barrett .50 cal and intervention used in MOD 2

Most notoriously was the Model 1887 shotguns, these shotguns had tested to have more range than sniper rifles. Of course this was patched some time ago but that was the case for the first 4-6 months that a shotgun had more range than a sniper rifle. These shotguns were so outrageous that the use of them were strictly banned in any GB tournaments or competitions.In essence then these shotguns have over a mile of effective range?

Finally the most important thing that makes COD extremely flawed is the hosting system. Every COD player knows that it is based off of a hosting system rather than a third party host. Ever see the game say migrating host? This is because the former host has left the game. What is wrong with the hosting system? The person who is host has something gamers call ‘hosting powers’. Since the game is based off of the host’s connection, only the host can see what is happening in real time while everyone else has about a 1-2 second delay. You may not think that is a lot but it is extremely noticeable when you are playing the game. The host of the game has a gigantic advantage in the fact that he will see people and he will not appear on the opponent’s screen until the difference in latency has resolved resulting in it appearing as if you get ‘one shotted’ which happens quite often, closer look at the kill cams will reveal that he had actually been shooting you for some time prior to you dying. Other symptoms of this will be that you fire at them but on the kill cam your shots don’t show up, you knife them but nothing happens, and the like.  It is relatively easy to find out who host is, all you have to do is look at the connection bars and host will always be full connection, while everyone else’s connection tend to fluctuate. The same problems with hosting are found in various other games such as the Gears of War series but Bungie aka Halo uses a third party hosting system where every player is connected to a third party server so that there is no hosting system. Why doesn’t every game do that instead of using a hosting system? Mainly because of money, it costs a lot more money to use a third party hosting system than it does for just a hosting system.

It rather depresses me that games, especially ones that are extremely reputable, cut corners to make more money. I think all the FPS games out there need to take a page out of Bungie’s book and start shelling out for higher quality games. The point of this post is not to rant and rave about a game but rather it is to inform. I know many people play the COD series and love it to death, some disregard the problems, some don’t know that these things even existed, and some call for change. I love the COD series myself, Ive attended various tournaments for them around the country and even in Canada, I play every weekend with my friends. A game is just a game and I will live with what comes out but I can always hope for bigger and better things for the future. Who knows, maybe someone who reads this has some in with Treyarch or Infinity Ward and can suggest some changes, or maybe I myself will someday create a game that will blow everyone away.

What ever happened to the good ol’ days?

The new era of gaming has been set upon us, one that has broken all the other rules of gaming since I’ve known it. Flashback to the 1990’s, the game systems that were out were the playstation, sega genesis and the N64, Xbox was not even created yet. Times were good, playstation had the Final Fantasy games in their pocket, Grandtheft Auto, and of course Spyro! Sega had their trademark Sonic while N64 had Mario. Then the next gen of systems came out; Playstation 2, Dreamcast and the Gamecube. Dreamcast tries a revolutionary thing, they try to do online gaming. Sega had the idea of uniting everyone through the interenet and take gaming to a whole new level. One where people can play with and against each other from the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately the world was just not ready for this advancement because normal people did not have cable internet and dial-up was just not able to handle gaming. This cost Sega dearly as the company went bankrupt.

Around the same time Xbox hits the market and also shakes up the world of gaming. Xbox gave rise to the Halo series and it rose to the top ranks with a single game under its wing. Xbox was marketed to older teens and adults, much like the Playstation was, while the gamecube was marketed toward younger children. Xbox started to give playstation a run for their money when they started taking titles from them such as GTA and spyro and eventually even final fantasy, all the while still able to keep Halo as their exclusive.

Flashforward and here we are today. A new generation of systems has come about us; The Xbox 360, Wii and PS3.The time was finally right and online gaming has been taken to new heights. Not only can you play online with each other but you can play gameshows from your console, even play motion sensor games with friends online! What a crazy world this has become eh? Prior to this new generation of consoles, gaming systems were only expected to stay current for about 4 years, during this time the gaming companies would be looking for new ways to improve their systems and come out with the next console with better graphics, better processors and pretty much better everything. The new consoles however are expected to be able to last up to 15 years meaning that we probably wont be seeing a new system come out until around 2015-2020. With the new ability to play on the internet companies can just update the systems with new patches, even games can fix bugs and glitches via the internet.

What I find most concerning is the fact that gaming seems to be taken to a new level of reclusiveness. It used to be that you would invite a friend or two over to play video games. You could play against each other in sports of shooter games or you could take turns playing RPGs and so on. With the new rise of online gaming I hear a lot of “oh, I’ll just see you online” when I aske friends to come over to play video games. There is a certain feeling that you get when two people are actually in a room playing together but now it just seems like people want to stay in the comfort of their own homes to play. It seems that with the new rise of party chatting and online playing things have been shaken up a lot. Not only are things different between playing with friends but it is also different because you are playing against people that you cannot see. This gives rise to the people who I call E-thugs; the people who are tough only in online settings. This is the kind of person that will trash talk your ear off even though you are doing multiples better than him, the person that everyone time they kill you or score on you will call you a noob and tell you that you suck. Sure you can block this guy but what about all the other thousands of people that you meet that are like this?

I used to play in tournaments for Halo 3 and when I was at the tournaments people treated each other with respect. Often times I wondered if these guys would be different if we were only playing online and had no face to face interaction, are these the guys that shove every kill down the throats of people less skilled than themselves?

With the new rise of video games comes a whole new set of problems. I am always respectful when I play competitive games. Whether I win or lose I always commend people on their wins, I am always the guy that says “Oh man that was an amazing shot that you had on me.” but more times than not, the courtesy is never returned. The new era of games is upon us and I say that new is not always better.

Digi-Ops experience; room for improvement.

So upon arriving at Digi Ops, it was nothing like I expected. To be honest I expected a lot more video game consoles than computers and I really didn’t expect the computers to be so isolated from each other. In my opinion, the point of playing video games, in part, is a social aspect. Gamers getting together to accomplish a goal. Whether it be defeating a boss, eliminating the opposing team or survival like in Left for Dead. I expected the computers/ consoles to allow for much more interaction but what we saw was little sections where gamers were isolated from others and the only way of communication was through a headset. Prior to going to Digi Ops, I felt like it would be a team building experience where teams could get to know each other, play different games, and of course play the assigned games so that teams could learn to work together as well as have a competitive aspect to it. While I felt that Left for Dead was a good game to play, I feel that the whole experience could have been done much better. I noticed that there were Xboxs set up and in much closer proximity to each other as well as in a much more open space. I feel like using those would have been a better alternative than the isolated stations that we ended up playing in. I talked to a couple of people in the class and they seemed to agree with my thoughts but these may not be the opinion of everyone. I thought that this would be a nice way to give feedback on the experience since we have no assignments pertaining to it and hopefully improve it for future classes.

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