gaming

More on “Christian” Gaming

Popular gaming blog Kotaku has an interesting article on a Christian Game Developers conference they tagged along to recently. Telling mostly for this para on what adding “Christian” in front of a media type does for a non-Christian audience. I’ve written a bit about Christian video game stuff before, this is basically an update on that front.

““Christian,” as an adjective, arrives with a lot of freight in the secular world, especially as branding within entertainment media and markets. For example: Christian TV programming, Christian radio, Christian rock, Christian books and bookstores. To the secular mainstream, it’s all assumed to mean insipid edutainment, ulterior-motive prosleytization or oogity-boogity intolerance. So Christian game developers, simply by identifying themselves as such, are up against that assumption of intent.”

The article is a worthwhile read if you’re interested in gaming specifically, or Christian isolationist approaches to the arts in general, because it shows a nice way to approach participation in a cultural/media industry.

Can you be a pacifist and play Modern Warfare successfully?

Apparently you can. Glen McCracken is taking on Modern Warfare 2, attempting to reach level 70 without killing anybody. He’s been going for a while, he’s up to level 21.

“Along with his astonishing zero kills, Glen has died 1,339 times. I caught up with gaming’s favorite pacifistic player, and although he admits that “things are already starting to slow down,” he remains positive. “With my Tactical Insertion and smoke grenade combo, I’m getting more points than ever,” Glen says confidently.”

Modern Warfare is a team game – and while you’d think having a player deliberately not killing people would be an impediment to team success – he has a winning record.

“Glen isn’t killing anyone, but how are his point grabbing techniques affecting his teams? Apparently, you’ll want him by your side. Glen has a winning record. He has 62 wins and 52 loses so far.”

You can track his progress in this regularly updated story.

Yakuza on Yakuza 3

A gonzo journalist who spent twelve years getting to know the ins and outs of the Japanese organised crime gangs, the Yakuza, managed to sit three bona fide gangsters down to play Yakuza 3 – a Playstation game.

They seemed to enjoy the experience. The interview is here, and it’s pretty fascinating.

“M: A real fight–it’s short and it’s brutal. Over in a minute. Nobody goes around trading blows and crap like that. Usually the first guy to punch wins.
K: I like that you can grab things like ashtrays or billboards and beat the crap out of the punks bothering you. Or smash their faces into car windows. That’s what you’d really do in a fight, grab something and use it as a weapon.
S: Why doesn’t he just shoot them?
K: That would be unrealistic. Nobody is going to waste a bullet on some street punk, like the ones that keep bugging Kiyru.
M: If they wanted to make it realistic, he’d pull out a gun and shoot it and miss! Or the damn thing wouldn’t fire. That would be realistic. (They all laugh).
K: Shooting people sends a message.
M: So does shooting anything. Shooting people gets you sent to jail.
K: That’s part of the job description. ”

Some world records are longstanding for a reason

Did you ever play the game Asteroids? Did you ever score more than 41 million points? If you answered yes to both of those questions you may have just lost your claim on a world record.

asteroidsrecord

On Saturday, John McAllister sat down at a friend’s house near Portland, Oregon to play a game of Asteroids. By Monday, he was still playing.

At 10:18 p.m. Pacific, he scored 41,338,740 points, a new all-time high score. In doing so, he beat a record that has stood for over 27 years.

The official Asteroids high score of 41,336,440 is the longest-standing record in gaming history, having been set on November 14, 1982 by 15-year-old Scott Safran. He stayed awake for three days to accomplish this feat.

Oh well. Nobody is going to beat my score at “Roller Skater Evader” – a vaguely similar game I once coded in QBasic. For fun. Mostly because I changed the scoring system to give me hundreds of thousands more points than the magazine I copied it from said to. Basically you had to steer a little dot through a screen of other little dots. And it made annoying beeping sounds because I realised that you could program musical scores by typing “play AA#BB#” etc… or something like that. I don’t remember how you made it play flats. Does anybody? I made the theme song “Mary Had A Little Lamb”…

Reality bytes*

Video games these days are so much more fun than they were when I first picked up a console controller. I can’t remember which came first – the NES or the CD TV – it’s all a bit of a blur. Having a father with a casual gig writing games reviews had its perks. Actually, it must have been a NES. Unless the Vic-20 counts as a console…

It did, from memory, plug into your TV… in fact, as a delightful tangent – I should point out that Dad’s game reviewing gig came after he wrote and published this book – unavailable for GBP4.95 from The Book Depository – for those of you who aren’t link clickers it was called “Beyond Simple Basic – Delving deeper into your Vic-20”. Seriously, with a father like that what chance did I have of not turning out as a geek.

Anyway, that’s a significant digression from my original point – but the Vic-20 was an 8-bit machine, so it’s tangentially related. My point was – games are now better. And I’m going to suggest that graphic violence is what makes that so. So it warms me to the cockles of my heart to see this Flickr set – of 8-bit characters rendered beautifully and experiencing graphic deaths. Here’s the demise of a Goomba – cleverly titled Goombash…

There are plenty more where that came from. Including this Pac-Attack…

* the title is only vaguely clever if you know that there are 8 bits to a byte. I have actually always wondered why 8-bit machines weren’t called one byte machines. I might have to look that up…

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