Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Importance of Sound

     Sound design is something a lot of people take no notice of. Whether it be the soundtrack accompanying your epic journey through space, or the sound that is made when chipping away at a stone block. The eerie sound of disembodied footsteps following you down a narrow hallway, or a sinister voice, sounds can make or break a game.

     Video game sound is more important than you may think when it comes to ambiance. Setting a mood is a big part of devs portraying what they want. Playing a horror game without sound is completely different. No haunting groans, no creaky doors, or no squeaky floorboards would take a lot of the panic out of the game. PT is a good example of a game that utilizes sound in a good way, the baby crying, the footsteps, the slightly-staticky radio playing, the creaking doors. The sounds come together in a way that helps set a tone, it develops a creepy atmosphere. The music in a game can also have a huge effect on the player, a great musical accompaniment to an epic boss battle, again, can help set a mood. It can be associative too, just hearing the music of Zelda: Ocarina of Time brings back memories, whether it be working my way through the Lost Woods, or grabbing the Master Sword for the first time. Narration and voice acting also falls under sound design. Bad voice acting can ruin the immersion of a game (unless, of course, the voice acting is so laughably bad that it is just something to make fun of, in which case bad voice acting is good) while good voice acting can pull you into a story and help the experience. Take Bastion, for example, the narration of that game is genuinely cool, it helps set a mood that couldn't be reached with text-based dialog.

     Sound design helps a lot of games set a mood and establish an atmosphere, whether it be via music, ambient noises, or voice acting, sound can contribute a lot to a video game.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Day One Patches

     Almost every game of this generation has had a day-one patch, The Witcher 3, MGSV, and even Halo 5: Guardians will have one. You'd think game devs would want to put out a finished product, but a game coming with a day one patch means it wasn't a finished product upon going "Gold". Day one patches have been upwards of 16gb (Sniper Elite 3 on Xbox One) and as small as a few hundred megabytes, regardless the download size of these patches, they are still bad, yet they're becoming normal.

     The normality is unsettling, these started as something harmless in earlier games like Skyrim (not necessarily the first to include one) and it has obviously grown into something more. Patches have grown larger and have started including more than just bug fixes, like THPS5 having entire game modes "patched in"(guess what, that's not a patch, that is a game, Activision) is there something more to day-one patches that we have yet to see? It is obvious that a large majority of games releasing this fall will include a patch that will release with the game, Halo, (probably not) Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront, and Tomb Raider being the biggest examples, (Note, the only game that is confirmed having a day-one patch is Halo).

     We as gamers should hold devs and publishers accountable for putting out a finished game and not a game that is kinda finished, but still needs a huge day-one patch. Not everyone has access to an internet connection, and if devs aren't putting out games that are complete, some people won't be able to experience a finished product. I would rather have a game be delayed by a month or two and get a complete experience, rather than being sold an incomplete game and being expected to wait longer to download a patch.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Destiny Offering Microtransactions


     On Oct. 13 Bungie will add "The Eververse" a new storefront including 18 emotes, all being completely optional. The currency you will buy these emotes with will be called "Silver" which will be able for purchase through your consoles associated store. Bungie will give you some free Silver to buy a few new emotes, and other than that they plan to "bolster the service our live team is offering
for another full year". AKA Microtransactions, though they are optional, it still sucks to see another game fall into this trend.

Addition: The fact that some of us have paid $140 for this game and they expect to charge us more for content is obscene. This seems like a gateway for something much, much worse. Like exclusives guns, armor, game modes, etc.

Metal Gear: The Phantom Pachinko

     Just when I thought Konami couldn't do much worse, they, of course, did. They removed Bomberman from iOS/Android respective app stores, which, at first glance, doesn't really seem like a big deal, but they have done something similar in the past with P.T. (SPECULATION) I call shenanigans! Bomberman probably wasn't making them money, so they pulled it to make room for a, you guessed it, pachinko machine.

     According to Kotaku, Konami has filed a "Big Boss" trademark, covering video games, board games, mobile games, and, of course, pachinko machines. Fantastic, another relic IP of video gaming lost to Konami's ignorance. Metalgearchinko 1 (AKA Greedy Snake) may not be the end of the true (I use that term loosely because the lack of Kojima) Meal Gear series, but it truly is a sign that Konami holds none of their games sacred, and I expect Castlevania is next.