A pacifist’s take on the console war. Continue reading
With a new frontier of gaming at my doorstep, I couldn’t just bring home a shiny new PlayStation 4 without a game. Having meticulously calculated and recalculated my budget, I was only able to bring home one game on launch night. Knowing that the brunt of my gaming would weigh heavily on this one title until my next paycheck, I had to choose wisely.
This, of course, was not an easy thing to do. After all, the launch line up for the PS4 had a decent variation in genres. I already knew I could cross out the sports games because I honestly don’t play much of those. Except for FIFA. Now, even though I love me some FIFA, I had been playing the demo while in line for the system, and decided to wait on it.
Killzone: Shadowfall looked awesome from the day I saw its reveal trailer. But aside from trudging alongside Garza in whichever Killzone that was, I know NOTHING of the series. Believe it or not, but I can’t stand to jump into a game series blind. Even with a game as pretty as Killzone: Shadowfall. Another game off the list.
Moving on, even with a Templar loving, freemason father, I choose to live by the creed. Assassins Creed: Black Flag was one of the most appealing Next Gen choices for me. A pirate themed AC game? Yes please. I would practically kick a baby to get in on that. But I also have a nasty habit of leaving those games unfinished.
This is mostly due to an almost unhealthy obsession with first person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty. Which were the two games I had in my hands, anxiously juxtaposing them to myself. See, though Call of Duty has been my preference, I have been dying to break into Battlefield. Even my best friend said he was leaving CoD for Battlefield 4.
It was a no brainer. So it wasn’t until I had gotten home that I kicked myself for falling for Call of Duty’s obvious exploitation of my addiction to it. Once again, I had shelled out money for a title that I knew deep down was just a polished version of its last incarnation. It happens every single year.
Nevertheless, I do enjoy them, so it couldn’t have been too bad of a choice. And besides, This wasn’t just Call of Duty: Ghosts. No no, This was Call of Duty: Ghosts on the PlayStation 4! Some next-level CoD. Can’t complain about that.
It was with this very attitude that I loaded up my game, and jumped right in to the multiplayer mode that I love so much. And ran in to a whole new beast. To my surprise, there was noticeable polish all over the place. Binge playing for quite some time gave me enough experience to know if it had been worth the money. I just couldn’t wait to share my reaction with you all.
Getting past the simple menus and into a match can still be done with my eyes closed. Thats a plus. However, there are slightly more features to choose from. This was also a welcomed change. The rigidity of the older games is what left you wanting more.
One of these additions leads you to your squad page. This replaces the create a class tab, and lets you customize your own soldier, right down to what gender they are. Not a bad idea, in my opinion. Everyone loves a little customization, and a chance at being unique to the online masses.
In the section for optimizing your soldier’s load out, I learned a few more things that peaked my interest. Squad points, attained by completing tasks in matches and gaining EXP, were the new currency. Easier to get than BO2′s point system, and much more fun to spend.
A downside, however is that they had to limit your creative juices by only starting players with 3 load out slots, and only one squad member. Additional slots and squad members have to be unlocked using your hard earned squad points. It makes sense, but still a huge downer, specially since new players want to find the perfect set up.
Kind of worth it though, just for the fact that you don’t have to wait until reaching an absurdly high level to unlock the gun that you want. You now have to wait for the perks you need. Not to mention the cumbersome perk table. Even color coded, I think the perk “weight” system is a little out of place here. Even if our options have been widened.
In game, the R1L1 and R2L2 functions have been swapped to make better use of the Dualshock 4′s new triggers. Not the hardest thing to get used to, since it feels much better, but it did sort of throw my timing off (nitpicking). The leaderboard downsize (now mapped to the touchpad in liu of a missing “Select” button) is both a blessing and a curse. And players with larger thumbs will find that hitting the Options button to change load outs can be hit or miss.
Everything else is pretty smooth, control-wise. That is why it is painful to be a good player caught up in the absolute feces storm that matches can become. Maps either provide too much empty space, or two few spots to stop and make plays. It is not a good system for mid style players as each map clearly gives sway to either Snipers, or Run-and-gunners. MIddle ground is hard to reach.
Couple that with a chaotic (at best) spawn system, and you have a glorified hootenanny on your hands. Once, I spawned in a room that was converged upon by not one, not two, but three enemies instantaneously just a second after gaining life! This kind of death spawn happens a number throughout any given match. In a goal oriented match type, it can be extremely hard to make a comeback.
Luckily, this affects everyone. I have come across quite a few easy kills, and though I am not particularly proud of them, they didn’t hurt my KDR. Besides, game rage fuels my FPS skills. And with a map as non helpful as the one in Ghosts, you will need some skill.
Satcoms suck. Seriously. They are nowhere near as useful as UAVs and are almost a complete waste of time. If three people on your team don’t activate one, its pretty much useless. And with the flow of action, it would have actually been nice to have a working UAV from time to time.
This is shown to be extremely poignant since the first person to fire usually survives the encounter. Life is extremely frail in this version, and new additions like contextual lean are necessary in keeping you out of a hail of gunfire. The larger maps have you running around peacefully before you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a maelstrom of bullets.
The integrated clan system is greatly appreciated, however running into a clan with a team of randoms can be DEVASTATING to your KDR. The absence of a mercenary TDM mode is missed. But clan wars are now of great importance, and have their own leader boards and stat pools. No CoD to date has put this much emphasis on clans. And I love it.
All in all, Call of Duty: Ghosts puts up a hell of a case. It shows many improvements over its predecessors, while not straying too far off course. Even with its chaotic nature, one can still find ways to adapt and take on all comers. I still find it very hard to put the control down, and I have yet to rage quit.
I’m definitely buying Battlefield 4 next though.
The time has finally arrived. PlayStation 4 has hit store shelves, and The “Next Generation” is now the current generation. Even as you read this I’m probably fawning over the sleek black box sitting right where Rioko, my trusty PlayStation 3, used to lay. Yes, I named her.
I made sure to leave the dust outline of the retiring system as a memorial of the crazy journey we had been through together. And because I couldn’t find the duster. Either way, the love I have for my new PS4 (Which I have decided to name Saeko) has a tremendous way to go to even remotely compare to the love that still burns for my PS3. I’ll never forget the day we met.
It was Christmas time. The PlayStation 3 had already been out a week or two, and as far as anyone knew, it was sold out everywhere. I was young then, and lacking the financial freedom to buy the new system, let alone pre order one. Christmas was my only hope of owning the coveted hardware.
I made sure to tell the entire family that one gift would suffice. I didn’t care how many sweaters I would be passing up, so long as someone, ANYONE could get their hands on the system for me. It was all I thought about. Needless to say, the solemn faces and sweater-box shaped gifts with my name on it were solid indicators that the system would elude me that holiday season.
So on christmas morning when the family gathered around the tree to open gifts, I had already accepted the fact that a PlayStation 3 would not be among them. Unwrapping the last gift, a Calvin Klein pajama set (which I wore the HELL out of, btw… Thanks Aunt D!) was just the icing on the FML flavored cake. Which is why I almost couldn’t comprehend why my brother made a point of retrieving a black garbage bag from his car and sliding it over to me.
From the second the bag came off, my stomach was filled with butterflies. There it was, finally within my grasp. It didn’t take long for me to hook it up to the living room television and turn her on for the first time. And let me tell you, it was love at first sight. I remember waking up bright and early the next day to go buy my first PS3 game.
For those of you who have been a part of the playstation family, you should already know that the launch line up wasn’t all that great. But one game did look quite interesting to me at the time, so I spent the money and brought it home to Rioko. Looking at the stack of PS3 games sitting near where she used to reside, I can still see it. Resistance: Fall of Man. I must say, it made for a great first experience.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love Co-op gaming. But what I failed to include was the hard-fought battle my best friend and I had against the Chimeran invasion in Resistance. We thought that the graphics were so insane back then. But the real shocker was the Enemy AI. It was a whole new level of gaming. Never had I experienced such depth. But there were more memories to be made.
The Novelty of the six axis controller took a while to get old for me. I mean, wireless controllers were awesome enough, but wireless motion sensing controllers? Mind-blowing. Every game to include them made me smirk a little. Still, it wasn’t until the AAA games started rolling in that I could fully appreciate my PS3.
Assassin’s Creed was a huge deal for me. The world alone was a marvel, but the layers of gameplay and the liquidity of it all was just so satisfying. It was also a huge relief to not have to worry about filling a memory card with a game as large as the first Assassin’s Creed. But it opened my eyes to the possibilities of the generation.
Nothing, however, meant as much to me as the first Metal Gear Solid title on the system. Metal Gear Solid 4 is, to me, the greatest measure of the PS3′s power. The sheer scope of the game, coupled with the fact that it literally could not have been made for the Xbox 360, is a testament to that. And if any designer could weave a tail fitting enough for a system that incredible, its Hideo Kojima.
Playing the end of a saga so closely tied to both my life and my love of the playstation brand was the crowning moment of my PS3 ownership, hands down. It is a memory that I won’t soon forget. And even after that, Our relationship just kept on growing.
Even after going through the grief of losing my original PS3 to the yellow light of death, I never gave up on the brand, and have remained loyal (I just retired Rioko 3.0). And I’m not the only one in my household to have enjoyed it.
Like the christmas we all got hooked on Singstar. I can not believe how much fun karaoke could be and how terrible we all were at it. Yet my PS3 provided a place for the family and I to rock out. The videos are STILL being passed around. Then there was Time Crisis. We had arcade fun in the comfort of my living room.
Swapping out controllers for guns didn’t feel quite right until we found the shooting gallery mode. Then it became weeks of endless competition. Even my dad had to applaud the system when he realized that he wouldn’t have to buy a Blu-Ray player.
Not to mention the fact that my reign of terror on Call of Duty multiplayer began with Modern Warfare for PS3. But all things considered, I have had plenty of good times with my PlayStation 3. And it is actually hard to say goodbye. Even with the arrival its younger sibling.
I guess you can’t stop times from changing. So this is my farewell to you, Rioko. I will never forget you. And though we may not have many more adventures together, you will always hold a special place in my heart. And my bedroom…
…Hooked up to the HD monitor that I bought just for you.
As a community, we gamers usually stick together. Most of us will defend our favorite pastime to whatever end. Luckily, the industry has grown so much that gaming is much more widely accepted than ever before. We even have ads running during prime time television for triple A games!
I’ve always been a fan of the art, and have no shame in identifying myself as a gamer. So whenever I find more of my kind, I know I can fit right in. Because like it or not, we gamers are like a family. But every family has a few nut jobs, and the gaming community is no different. As a matter of fact, some of us can be downright annoying at times. Don’t believe me? Well then you’ve never met…
5. The n00b Gamer
Online or not, I know there has been a time in everyone’s gaming history when you’ve played with or even had the unfortunate luck of watching an inexperienced gamer. Though the situation is a clear test of patience, it can get pretty ugly real quick. I mean as soon as this person picks up the controller, I feel my gut churn with every single mistake that they make.
How about when they hold the controller all wrong? Even watching them move their bodies in an attempt to steer the vehicle in a racing game (before all this motion control nonsense, anyway). Something about it just makes me cringe. I mean, I don’t know about you, but watching someone try to play a FPS for the first time, the obvious lack of dynamic thumb control makes me sick to my stomach!
What makes it worse is that this gamer is usually the one begging to play. The one who YOU must pass the controller to. The one who your mom forces you to play with, even though you and your best friend JUST won the world tag team championship, and are scheduled to defend said titles in a tables ladders and chairs match against not one, but two other teams.
Common Offenders: Younger siblings, Uninterested Girlfriends, Parents
4. The RPG Fanatic
I want to preface this entry with the fact that I LOVE my RPGs. I don’t think a single Final Fantasy has slipped my interest, and don’t even get me started on Kingdom Hearts. The RPG realm has much to offer, and in my opinion tell some of the greatest stories within the media.
That being said, there are some gamers who just take it to a place it needn’t ever go (like that unassuming ice cave that turns out to be a dungeon of endless level 99 hell). You know who I’m talking about.
That one friend who spent all their change on the kung fu panda expansion pack, and refused to go on the double date with you because their knight elf was so close to reaching level 89. Tell me you haven’t at least felt shunned by someone fitting that description.
I love some of my games like it was my job, but at the end of the day, a trip to the beach is also pretty cool. I mean, its odd when the only bookshelf in a person’s room is filled with like twenty strategy guides.
I can’t believe anyone even still buys those things! But these hermits are so into their games that they have to do everything right and have the best stats, and get that crazy genocide blade only available every fortnight when Bill Clinton eats meatloaf for dinner.
It’s not the dedication to a favorite game that kills me. I can understand that. It’s the obsession with perfection and knowledge of a fictional realm to the point of neglecting your real life that kind of gives me the willies. And the strategy guide thing. Seriously, cut that out.
Common Offenders: The extra quiet dude who sits in the back of class, Anyone who has ever dressed up for Comic-Con.
3. The Richie Rich Gamer
I’m not a jealous person. I try not to be, anyway. I have my fair share of nice things, and I’m okay with what I have. I know some people are better off. How do I know? Because there is always that one gamer who pretty much has every single awesome thing that I could ever want. And they love to talk about it.
Ever been over to their house? It sucks, because they make you take your shoes off before entering the room specifically designated for gaming. Lord knows why, because the room is dark, save for the blinding glow of the 100″ HD projector screen that they’ve told you about in agonizing detail a thousand times.
And guess what? That sweet gaming chair and rig in the center of the room is EVERY bit as awesome as it looks. But never mind that, because you’re sitting in the bean bag.
Yes, I hate people who rub their opulence in my face, but not as much as the ones who only have these nice things for show. Booting up their modded PlayStation while talking smack about how bad they’re going to whoop you in a deathmatch in Halo.
Or pulling out all the newest games, half of them still in the plastic wrapping. Or bragging about going to a midnight release for a long awaited sequel to a game that they’ve never even heard of before.
It irks me to know that these people call themselves hardcore gamers simply because they can afford to. A little modesty goes a long way in the gaming world. And for the love of Mario, Solid Snake is NOT the protagonist in Metal Gear Solid 3, you pretentious twit!
Common Offenders: The super wealthy, The not-exactly-rich-but-still-in-a-higher-bracket-than-you, pretentious twits.
2. The KDR Obsessed FPS Jerk
I play a lot of Call of Duty multiplayer. And if its one thing that I can’t stand, its those adrenaline junky, god complex, rage masters who use their headsets to release pure evil during matches.
If they kill you, they gloat about it. If you kill them, you are a [expletive deleted] communist [expletive deleted] ballerina [expletive deleted] camper who needs to go suck on some [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted]. The language is colorful at best.
Its like these guys are playing to cure their terminally ill mothers of life cancer or something. I get into it with them sometimes, but for the most part, I just mute every player in any given room. I don’t get how someone could take a game so seriously. The more they play, the angrier they get, win or lose. It’s actually kind of scary.
And these are the D-bags that kick you out of the room for not following their Saving private ryan-esque strategies. The ones that are on the same team as you, yet still verbally cut you down with every single death. Those godless animals that bring your mother into every single dispute. At least they’re also the ones that I love to kill or outplay.
Even if I’m not playing with them, they grate at my nerves. Don’t get agitated at me for distracting you during your clan battle. Your mother just slipped on an empty chip bag and knocked a candle off of the mantle, setting your dog and subsequently your house on fire.
Common Offenders: Your rival, Frat boys, Xbox owners
1. The Fanboy Gamer
This has to be said. Fanboy Gamers are the lowest pieces of trash on the planet. There is a special circle of hell reserved for such stubborn, ignorant people. I cannot stress to you enough how watching flame wars play out online over console preference or the best game ever made makes me want to burn down a children’s hospital (Note: I would NEVER do that).
I know preference is everything. I’m picky as hell with my gaming. But I see no need to rant and rave about how much more awesome the PS4 will be compared to the Xbox One. I don’t care if you wrongly assume that Master Chief is a better soldier than Big Boss. And your pleas to make me understand why the PC is the ultimate gaming machine are falling on deaf ears!
Shut up with all the banter! I get it. You love your Xbox. I’m a fool for picking my role model from a Konami franchise. My console was a complete waste of money. But guess what? I’m happy! Thats what matters most, isn’t it? That we each enjoy our own personal gaming experiences.
The hardcore fanboys need to relax a little. If someone slides you the controller for the system you aren’t fond of, just give it a try. So what if you don’t like it? You have your own system at home. Its time to start accepting the fact that every gamer is different.
Common Offenders: PlayStation Gamers, X-box Gamers, PC Gamers, Gamers in general, You, Me, All of us.
Thats my list and I’m sticking to it. I know I don’t have much patience, but I’m sure I’m not the only one. Even if i qualify for at least three of these categories. Wait, In retrospect, maybe I’m just a prick.
November is going to be a crazy month for the video game industry. With the release of two impressive consoles from rival companies Sony and Microsoft, it can finally be said that the “Next-Gen” has arrived. But now that the countdown is so near to zero, I find myself less and less excited for whats to come. But it wasn’t always so.
From the moment the first rumor of the Playstation 4 dropped on the internet, it had captured all of my attention. I distinctly remember the rush of anticipation welling up inside of me. The current console generation has been a long one, though it was only to be expected. Both Systems performed admirably, each with its own flaws, but both displaying an amazing level of technological advancement over the last generation.
For a brief moment, I even thought that a new generation of consoles would be pointless. The current generation operated in high definition, had high capacity memory, amazing processors, motion controllers, and games that pushed boundaries. If memory could be upgraded, and 3D was already being integrated into current gen consoles, then what more could be improved upon? Wouldn’t it just end up being a slightly improved core with a shiny new exterior?
Yet there I was drooling over the internet hear-say that Sony was already working on the next iteration of the Playstation console. And as rumors trickled in, I was all over them. Some peaked my interest, like the interconnectivity with the Playstation Vita. Other things, like a lack of backwards compatibility, worried me. But every day, I would find myself looking up the hot new gossip.
After months of sifting through the facts and rumors, I was left with an urge to reach the point where my PS3 could be retired to my bedroom, and be replaced with the PS4. At the time, I had read that Sony was code naming it “Orbis” as a direct connection to the Vita, which aludes to the latin “Orbis Vitae” meaning “Circle of Life”. The theme being a constant state of play, and the ability to make the Playstation brand a part of everyday life. After building a strong bond with my PS3, I was ready to see how It could be topped.
The announcement came in February, and I made sure to be at my computer to watch the live stream, even though I would be stuck at work all day. Lags aside, I sat through the entire presentation, and was almost hurt that even though they detailed the specs of the system and outlined its key capabilities, they never actually showed the new console. But even so, it was finally a finality. The next gen was within reach.
Of course by the time they did actually unveil the system, It was already being budgeted for. All of the details surrounding the system made my mouth water. A greatly improved remote play feature would turn the Playstation Vita into the greatest handheld ever made. Games could be played as they were being downloaded. Hell, even the control was given a touchpad and still stayed true to that crisp Playstation style. I was in heaven, and giddy like a child in december.
I even watched the other companies and the impressive strides that they were making. XBox may not be my particular cup of tea, but the new XBox One is every bit as impressive as the Playstation 4. I just couldn’t believe the level of improvement from the last generation. It felt like a good time to be a gamer.
But as the days go by, and I keep finding the receipt for my Playstation 4 pre order in my wallet, I’m not all that excited anymore. Yes, I still plan on purchasing the system, but somehow, all the wide eyed excitement has vanished. It will be an amazing piece of technology, I’m sure. And I KNOW that the games of the future will be true art. Even then, it still all feels normal now.
I feel like November 15th is going to come, and It won’t have that same impact that it used to. I doubt I’ll go to a midnight release, and I may not even rip it out of the box when It gets home. I can’t even say that i have a game in mind for its launch. This coming from a guy who treats his PS3 like a newborn baby.
Its hard to put my finger on why, though. I mean for all the awesome features that my PS3 had, I really only boot it up to play games these days. Oh, and the awesome Playstation Move controllers that were once a must have haven’t been touched since the first Christmas break after their release (we had a disc golf tournament). Even the awe at the amazing graphics has faded away, even though they were extremely high end.
I’ve grown out of my love for gimmickry, and I’m more interested what the system itself can accomplish. Even though the internal specs have been detailed, I’m more of a hands on kind of guy. You can tell me that the new system is ten times more powerful all you want, but until I have a chance to play it, and see the power for myself, you may as well just show me a picture of its motherboard.
Either way, I will have my Playstation 4 next month. I may or may not have a game to play on it, but it will replace my PS3 as the living room system. Nothing could have stopped that. I just hope that my lack of interest is shattered following the release. I want to be blown away by how amazing it is. But mostly, I want to be shown that we haven’t waited all these years to be let down by the Next Generation of game consoles.
Life is tough. For those of us who are unfortunate enough to not have been born the child of a wealthy oil baron or creator of the pet rock, we know good and well the hardships of accumulating wealth. Working long hours under a douche-y boss for a paycheck that should be twice what it is for the work that you put in for it sucks. But such are the harsh realities of an honest living. The fact of the matter is that most people are willing to work hard for the things they want, and remain within the bounds of honesty and legality, even if the ultimate fantasy of getting rich is never attained.
On the other hand, the world was, is, and most likely will ALWAYS be home to the criminal minded. These folks have no problem lying, cheating, stealing, and even killing to make a profit, and sadly, the pay is often much better. While the working man spends eight hours on the job and gains a hundred bucks in his pocket, it only takes about 15 minutes for the criminal to mug that working man and make his own hundred dollar payday.
While these people are usually abhorred and shunned, media often glorifies the life of crime in movies, songs, and video games. And as an honest man, I must admit that the fantasy of making money that other way IS real. I’m going out on a limb to say that I’m probably not the only one who imagines what life would be like on the other side of the law. And luckily, the video game industry has quite a few simulators for this. Of course the most notable of these games is, hands down, the Grand Theft Auto franchise.
While each Story laid out by Rockstar Games portrays the life of an up and coming criminal, I find that a whole new level to experiencing the criminal life first hand has been opened up with the latest iteration of Grand Theft Auto Online. From the moment you establish a background and lifestyle for your character (because a simple character creator doesn’t feel real enough, I’m guessing) you are thrown into a cruel unforgiving world, that definitely doesn’t love you back. From the moment you establish a background and lifestyle for your character, you are thrown into a cruel unforgiving world, that definitely doesn’t love you back.
And the scariest part is that you can’t shake that feeling of a certain familiarity. A sort of nagging feeling settles in your stomach as the last tutorial mission comes to an end. Suddenly, you are left to your own devices, free to live out all of your criminal fantasies and its sort of a lot to handle.
Let me start off by saying that GTA Online is a brilliant idea. Despite the technical issues of its launch, there has been a steady stream of players who logged in every day in order to at least try to get in on the action, myself included.
This alone should speak volumes as to its addictive properties, as anyone who has had a taste, usually goes back for seconds, thirds, and so on and so forth. And I see why! An online world where crime is king, and selfish actions are rewarded is just begging to be explored and conquered.
Exotic cars, lavish apartments, and more money than most of us will ever attain in real life are all waiting for you in Los Santos. Make no mistake though, the road to the top is a damned treacherous one for many, MANY reasons.
Its Day 2 of my adventures in the Online world of Los Santos, and all I have to my name is a pistol, a sawn off shotgun, $20,000 and an insured Vapid Dominator (not my first vehicle). It’s not much, not by GTA online standards. I may as well be begging on a street corner. But, I’ve already done my homework. I can have more, all it takes is some money. Thats what the missions are for right? By all means, yes, however at about $2000 per mission on average for low level players, there is a huge gap between profits and losses. And it’s these losses that define the whole experience for me. What my introduction earlier failed to mention was how easy it could be for a criminal to lose his payday in a world chock full of other criminals.
Take for example my car. At first, your character is instructed to steal a vehicle to make it their own, which is awesome. A free car ? Already better than real life. Okay, so it can’t be an exotic car, those must be purchased, but a vehicle to start off is a huge deal. I took it upon myself to find something decent and spotted a motorcycle that looked pretty sweet, so I made it mine. It was pretty awesome at first because very few players had bikes (hint) and it made me feel pretty unique. That wore off real quick as the nature of the world I was galavanting around in became absurdly clear to me (but we’ll get to that in a moment). It was high time to ditch the bike, and find something a little more safe.
When I found my first Dominator, I felt like I had lucked out. Not only am I a huge fan of the car’s real life counterpart, but it could be stolen and made into my personal vehicle. At the time, I only had about $16,000 in game, so I only purchased the tracker, and decided to hold off on the insurance. After all, none of the vehicles I’d driven in game were ever destroyed, bike included.
It took about 2 minutes of cruising around in my new car before a crew of 4 players in an SUV began chasing me around Vinewood, guns blazing. Eventually, they poured so many bullets into my car that it exploded with me still inside. Eventually, they poured so many bullets into my car that it exploded with me still inside. Respawning at the hospital, a message on screen popped up to let me know that my car was destroyed, and that I had to find another.
Recovering from the added bills of a new tracker for a new car plus insurance (because I will NEVER make that mistake twice) was hard. Yes, the car expenses were a hassle, but the medical bill really killed me! Every time you die in GTA Online, a decent chunk of your money is lost. From my experience, its been anywhere up to $2000 which, if you remember, is the average pay out for a beginner.
Though the latest patch has made death much more affordable, it still hit pretty hard for me, due to the dangerous world that Los Santos is. Imagine spending a good chunk of time on a long winded mission, only to be wasted by another player and lose every penny that you worked for. Not to mention the fact that if you don’t keep your money in the bank, whatever you have in your hand at the moment can, and WILL, be taken from your lifeless, virtual body. And thats when it really sinks in. That feeling I was talking about earlier, its vulnerability. Vulnerability that makes the world seem almost too real, and less and less like a video game. Your luck can change at the drop of a dime, and to survive in this world, you MUST approach it responsibly.
I find myself almost scared to roam the streets of Los Santos alone. Paranoia kicks in with every white dot that pops up in the room. As soon as the safety of being in a mission ends, I find the closest secluded spot and whip my phone out to transfer all of my money into my bank account. Though my level limits me from buying better weapons, I ALWAYS have my most powerful gun in hand when on foot, which I try not to be as much as possible. Being in a car provides much more cover (than say, a motorcycle) and still proves to be fast mode of escape. It’s a tough world, and you can’t get caught with your pants down.
The biggest menace is definitely the other players. They will hunt you down for fun. And after they lay you out, they’ll find you and do it again. I’ve been on the receiving end of a wall of bullets numerous times and each time, losing precious amounts of in game money. Its tough, but lets face it, that is pretty much the very essence of the GTA online world. Yet some people do own garages, apartments, and sports cars. Some have made it to level 40 and higher. It is all still possible, and still attainable. You just have to be willing to put in the work for it.
I now have a cool $100k in the bank, and my trusty Dominator is still going strong (though I’ve had to replace it twice now, luckily with help from the insurance company). I could afford to buy a garage, but I’m holding out for an apartment. That way, I know I can spawn in a safe spot AND have a place to store my cars. Things are looking up, and I have a much better handle on my money. By no means am I wealthy, but I have found my rhythm. I found that you have to work long hours to make money. I found that you have to work long hours to make money.
In any given session I try to do a few robberies, sell stolen vehicles for a couple stacks, and take a steady stream of jobs to keep my income even. Its tedious, but it pays the bills. There are still setbacks like the occasional bounty being placed on your head, but hey, it happens. If I just put in my 8 hours, it will all be worth it later.
And THATS how they get you. In GTA online, crime IS your 9 to 5. It’s the most depressing criminal fantasy simulation ever made, in that you aren’t making the easy money you imagined, you’re putting in the labor of a working man, while being held back by the society around you. Your motivation aligns perfectly with your real life desires, making a game that truly keeps you motivated to stick to it. It’s a dirty play by Rockstar, but one that I can still appreciate whole heartedly. If anything, it serves to remind me that maybe I’m better suited on the straight and narrow. After all, I can barely afford to keep up my life of crime on the mean virtual streets of Los Santos.
I think that all sane human beings can agree that war sucks. People die, cities get destroyed, and regimes topple. No matter how you slice it, some population becomes widely inconvenienced, no matter the cause. That being said, war wouldn’t exist if it weren’t a necessary part of civilization. It is just as unavoidable as rage quitting after losing 17 times to that boss in the latest Final Fantasy title.
Most people, soldiers included, dread the thought of going to war. That fear is only conquered by sheer courage and a strong sense of duty. Otherwise, there are a number of things that could occur during battle that are simply too much to bear. You could lose comrades or sustain disabilititing injuries. Though death is an obvious fear, some can’t handle the thought of taking another human’s life. War is a terrible burden on the brave men and women who serve their countries.War is a terrible burden on the brave men and women who serve their countries.
The strange thing, however, is how this all changes once it is only occuring on a screen before us. Don’t believe me? Load up a team deathmatch in ANY war based first person shooter, and see how bloodthirsty and creative these players can get when dealling death upon the enemy team.
I’m no stranger to the online FPS craze. I’ve played the multiplayer mode of every Call of Duty title to include the feature, and I’m just now getting into the Battlefield series. And with every iteration, I cant help but spend days honing my skills to a point where I become as efficient in my style of play as possible.
Something about going up against real people, and pitting my skills up against someone else’s gets my blood pumping more than any scripted run in with a game’s AI. I take pleasure in knowing that with each kill, someone is cursing at thier screen, and actively hunting me down. And I KNOW I’m not the only one who enjoys this. All you have to do is listen to the headset chatter during each match, and you’ll know that teamwork and strategy take a definitive backseat to howls of maniacal laughter, and hearty helpings of terrible references to maternal intercourse.
And no matter how bad you’ve been beaten, or how many times you’ve been tea bagged, you always go back for more. FPS players make up a huge chunk of the gamer population, simply because of the Player vs. Player thrill. Call of Duty is still one of the highest demanded games, even though with each release, everyone knows that they will be getting pretty much the exact same experience, with a shiny coat of paint (and MAYBE a cool tomahawk).
Now, why is this at all relevant to the horrors of war? Because I believe I’ve seen our future as a species. With the unsurprising rise of technology, human kind is getting better and better at mastering the virtual world. What if one day in the not so unfathomable future, instead of deploying our troops overseas, we simply rally them to their specially designed WAR consoles?
Instead of innocent civilians huddling together in darkness as air raid sirens go off in the distance, they sit comfortably at home and get treated to an exiting battle? That’s right, war in the future should be a game. And It would be awesome.
Now, for all my readers out there, I know what you’re envisioning. Chaos, risk, lagging, hacking, and a general lack of a point. But I’ve planned for all that. WAR (working title) will be a game that has to be properly done in order to achieve its purpose. Fairness is key to its structure, in order to maintain the balance of power.
That is why, each country will have a troop count and military assets equal to what they had at the end of the last physical war. Of course troop abilities/ skills will still vary based on which branch of military they are from, and military assets range from rifle scopes to drones to nuclear arms and defenses. Now These numbers can only be changed 3 ways. The first way is by population growth. A country’s troop count will increase / decrease in conjunction with its actual population. The second way is through microtransactions.
Every country has the ability to purchase upgrades to military assets with real world money just as they would have had to fund the actual research and development. All profits from any purchases made for WAR will be used to maintain the servers (more on those in a bit) and fund world charities. Lastly, after each war is waged, the death count and assets lost are remain lost. With me so far?
The next most important feature of WAR will be the virtual world it takes place in. Our world. The map will be an exact virtual replica of the world we inhabit down to every last mud hut. The map will be an exact virtual replica of the world we inhabit… Why? Because it helps to keep track of who is invading who, and what ground has already been taken. In order to relieve whichever supercomputers will be running the session, only areas with active troop movement will be in play at any given time.
With that in mind, at any time, any country can enter a game of WAR and aid whichever side they please. Deployment zones must remain realistic, and within the means of the country in question. Generals can relay strategic information to their virtual troops or request help from other countries from private WAR rooms in the real world.
Though gameplay wouldn’t be much different from any FPS on the market today, just picture it on a much larger scale, with completely different gear, and uneven teams, Much like real war. To handle the burdens of such a game, I feel like all of the UN headquarters should house dedicated interconnected WAR servers around the globe to keep the network strong. The United Nations should be tasked with this, because of the odd nature of WAR. This way, when nations meet and discuss issues, they can declare WAR and handle the terms on the spot.
Before a war is waged or upon entry, each country must state the terms of their victory. If that country should win, then those terms must be met at all costs. The terms can be simple like land claims, or more complex like ousting a current regime. Punishment for disobeying the terms of WAR have to be strict and severe and though I have yet to come up with anything fitting, they should be agreed upon by the collective of world leaders.
Whether its depletion of allocated troops or by an unconditional surrender, The game of WAR will end with zero casualties, and more than likely a few thousand rage quits. But that will be the extent of the damage done. Hell, not only will it remove the looming depression that accompanies war, but it could probably fetch more views than the Olympics, too! So there you have it.
Hopefully one day, I can eagerly serve my country by picking up my controller, and doing what only comes natural to me now. If not in my lifetime, I at least hope that future generations will see the benefit of my WAR game and how it can change the world for good.
Or make one bitchin’ video game.
Playing video games is quickly becoming a widely accepted escape from reality. It’s no secret that the ”gamer” population is growing with each wave of advancement seen in the industry. We gamers are a diverse and cultured sect of humanity who simply love the artform for what it gives us.
Which, for some of us, is a well needed break from the finite possibilities that reality has to offer. No matter what type of gamer you identify as, be it casual or hardcore, or which genre of games you identify most with, most gamers will agree that they have, at some point in their gaming experience, thought about what life would be like in a video game.
It is with that thought in mind that I decided to compile a list of the top five videogame features that would make everyday life even better. Such features like:
1. Save Slots
Real life comes at you fast. Every single decision that we humans make has an impact on ourselves, our peers, and the world we live in. Sometimes that impact is miniscule, and sometimes it can be quite a huge deal. Sadly, there is no going back once a decision has been put into action.
Such trifles aren’t the case withing the gaming world however. Imagine being able to save your progress up to a specific point, lets say before making a huge decision or taking on a difficult task, and then being able to go back to that point if things didn’t pan out the way you first envisioned. Life would be merry indeed.
One could see the benefits and downfalls of every major decision, and even improve with each reload. How easy would college have been if you could retake that big test as many times as you needed to? You could go back and study rather than head to that lame party you opted for down the street!
2. Extra Lives
That “Y.O.L.O.” craze really has the teens of today doing some incredibly stupid stuff. I mean, by my logic, I recognize that I only have one life to live, so I want to make it LAST! I’m not saying that its bad to take risks, but there’s no coming back when we reach that big “Game Over” screen. But what if there was?
What if each of us had lives to spare? Think about your life up to this point and imagine the adventures you would have had if you knew that death just meant waking up at your last checkpoint? Would you have gone sky diving with the rest of your friends? Climb Mt. Everest? Explore uncharted wilderness? Join the Army with your best friend? Hell yea!
All of the above! And why not? Fear of death is what holds humans back from REALLY cutting loose. Remove a good portion of that fear, and think of how much more we could accomplish! Sadly, I know I’d probably still hoard my lives till the bitter end, playing a series of hilarious death pranks on my poor, poor family.
3. Power Ups
Have you ever drank an energy drink? I’m willing to bet that it probably didn’t live up to its name. It didn’t give you wings, it didn’t turn you into a monster, you didn’t rock out, and I’m sure it wore off just shy of 3 hours, 47 minutes, and 18 seconds (but who’s counting, right?). Our world is lacking in ability boosting pick ups.
The closest thing we have to a power up is anabolic steroids, and lets face it, famous athletes being defamed isn’t good advertising. Suppose along the course of your life, there were random power ups that heightened your abilities. Super speed for a day? I’d take it. Unlocking the full processing ability of the human brain for 12 hours? Step aside, Bradley Cooper!
It wouldn’t matter if they were few and far in between, a good power up could save the day. It would be like becoming a super hero for a short period of time. You would get it just before a situation arises when you need it most, and then you could really prove your worth. Or you could finally get a chance to wear Mario’s raccoon suit. Either way.
4. Level Ups
Society demands that we work hard in order to attain recognition from our peers. Those peers judge us, whether its intentional or not. And try as we might as a species to come up with reasons for who resides in which class, it all boils down to money. It’s a sad truth that wealth defines your path in life, even more so than your experience.
Thats just twisted! There would be much more motivation if we were able to gain EXP with every accomplishment and gain a new level in life, along with upgrades to our skills and attributes. Mansions, fast cars, the highest quality things all available based on what level you’ve attained. Your hard work would pay off no matter what profession you’re in. Thats a world I’d like to live in. Especially if each level up is accompanied by an awesome guitar riff.
5. Boss Battles
Okay, so this is just a twisted thought, but wouldn’t it be awesome if your promotion was dependent upon your domination of your boss in a good old fashioned slobber knocker? Screw TPS reports. Tell me you haven’t at least once thought about fighting your boss. Now, we all know that in real life, all that would do is land you in jail.
But if the video game boss battle scenario played out in real life, defeating your boss would get you ahead, instead of getting you a lawsuit. Picture it. You walk into your office, breeze past that annoying coworker, save your progress at your desk, grab that power up lying carelessly in front of your boss’s office, then barge in and show him/her the awesomeness of being a level 78 Data entry clerk.
It’s a long, and tedious slugfest, but you had a couple extra lives to spare. You emerge victorious, and the whole office applauds your victory. In defeat, your boss grants you a parking space with your name on it, and a hefty pay increase. What more could you ask for in life? If thats not satisfaction, I don’t know what is. Oh yea, and you get to knock your boss out.
Add in a kick ass heads up display and you could sign me up any day.