What Games Are Played For

By Jason Green

Last night I finished episode 3 of The Walking Dead: The Video Game. It was by far the most disturbing, dark, and depressing episode yet, and I loved it.

Trust me, I’m no sadist but when I put the controller down I realized that this is why I play video games. This, being, the incredibly pulse pounding story.

My favorite games of all time have been games where the story is what matters most to me.  Games like the Mass Effect series, the Infamous games, the Walking Dead game episodes,  and of course, the entire Metal Gear Solid series.

Gameplay is always a big factor, I mean the game needs to be have proper controls, but it’s always a good story/plot that is the driving force for me.

The first Infamous game ended on such a huge cliff hanger that I was foaming at the mouth for 2 years until the sequel came out, thus promptly purchasing the $80 dollar collectors edition.

Games with great stories are also a testament at how far video games have evolved. No longer are they 16 bit side-scrollers where your only purpose was to save the princess. Today, video games rival Hollywood, and, I think the former is winning.

So after a hard days work, I like to unwind by turning on my TV, pressing power on my Playstation, and get lost in a good story.

@JayGreen89

 

 

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The Iron Fist Of Big Business

By Jason Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you think of video game publishers, the big names on the market are Electronic Arts and Activision.

They are the forces in the gaming industry that are responsible for publishing big titles such as Call of Duty and Mass Effect.

What is a publisher, you say? Well, a publisher is a company that basically funds the development of a game by using an external developer or an in house studio. They are the people who get the game out on the market.

A publisher has more creative control than one would think. It seems that the developers are the ones down in the salt mines chipping away at the game making while the publisher gives them money, but, there’s a lot more to it than that.

Publishers are the ones who are breathing down the developers neck like a teacher looking over the shoulder of a test-taking student.

Gamers are generally not in favor of this.

Take Activision for example: they crank out Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed games every single year because they make a butt load of money. Instead of Treyarch, Infinity Ward, or Ubisoft sitting down and taking a few years to make a genuinely new COD or AC game, Activision cracks their whip and tells them to put out a new game every year which is not much different from the last.

A few years ago, developer Terminal Reality released Ghostbusters: The Video Game. The game was pretty well received but a sequel was never made because Activison deemed it wasn’t annualizable. Well what about the gamers who want a sequel?

EA, on the other hand, is known for buying out smaller game developers are controlling them.

An example that would come to mind is Mass Effect developer Bioware.

If you take a look at ME 1, a total Bioware production, you can see how much was crammed into that game.

Than, if you look at ME 2, after EA bought Bioware, everything was more streamlined so more people could get involved. That’s not a bad thing, but it does show how much EA changed the game. As for ME 3, I totally believe that ending was rushed because EA wanted the game out as soon as possible.

I could be totally wrong, but it’s just fishy that as soon as EA buys Bioware, ME becomes a more general game than an RPG game.

Also, EA was just voted the worst company in America.

Publishers aren’t always a bad thing. They can help an independent company get on their feet a make an awesome game. The main problem every gamer has is that they think some publishers suck the “artistic integrity” out of the developer.

Sometimes, it’s hard not to agree with that.

@JayGreen89

Back In Action

I just returned from an amazing vacation. It relaxed me, uplifted me, and enlightened me. Well, now that I’m back in the good ol’ state of NJ, I’m going to get back to writing soon. Expect a new one tomorrow!

Thanks!

@JayGreen89

Are Games Becoming Too Easy?

By Jason Green

Back in the day, the 90s, some games were unforgivably difficult. I remember one of the hardest games I ever played was Sonic The Hedgehog 2. I don’t remember ever getting past the third level. Generations Lost for Sega Genesis was another extremely challenging game I remember, too.

There was also the X-Men game for Game Gear, the Road Runner and Coyote game for Genesis, the Mega man games, and decade more of hard games.

Some would say that the games of today are a lot easier than the games of the past.

My stance is in the middle on this.

Yes some of the games of the 90s were hair-pullingly hard, but that was because games were primitive.

Things were hard back in the caveman days because we hadn’t evolved into what we are today.

The same is said for games. They were just barebones back then. Since they were a lot less complex than the games we have today, there weren’t any tutorials, any saves, or any ways to cater toward the simple player.

Well since games have grown a lot bigger, there are many ways to make games more accessible to everybody.

Some gamers do miss the challenge but there still are still games being made that are just as hard as they were back in the day. Play Devil May Cry 3 or Mega Man 9.

So, by todays standards, yes most games are easier but only so more people can play them. But there are, however, some games that can still offer an adequate challenge.

@JayGreen89

PS: I’m on vacation in San Francisco and visited IGN. Hopefully I’ll be writing for them someday!

Playstation Vita’s Poor Sales

By Jason Green

Since its debut in late February, the PS Vita (Sony’s newest handheld) has had an extremely difficult time with its sales.

Not just in America, but in its home region of Japan the Vita has had its ass kicked by the Nintendo 3DS, and, not by a slim number, but by a long shot. Like a 16:1 ratio. On an average week the Vita sells about 16,000 units. That’s about as much people as I have in the small New Jersey town I live in.

Why is it selling so badly? The Vita is a very impressive piece of hardware. It’s got console quality graphics and has all the bells and whistle that a smartphone would have.

The price isn’t that bad either. At $249, some gamers see that as very reasonable except for the fact that the memory cards are $100 bucks.

The main problem is the games. The Vita launched with an extremely impressive line up of games, but, the flood gates have closed. After the launch games passed, there hasn’t been a Vita game since.

Basically, there’s nothing to play. Sony needs to start cranking out those games or the Vita will be dead in the water.

The other problem is marketing. Can you think of a single PS Vita commercial? No? Maybe that’s because there hasn’t been any.

Sony needs to start thinking long-term. They tend to throw all their chips on the table at the very beginning. Look at when the PS3 launched, they gave it a $600 price tag so they could start making a profit immediately. Maybe they should reverse that strategy by selling things at a much cheaper price from the beginning, and yes they’d loose some money, but would gain it back.

As they say, you got to spend money to make money.

Here’s hoping that the Vita gains popularity. I definitely want to purchase one but feel no incentive to do so.

History tends to repeat itself, so, maybe in a few years the Vita will be big.

@JayGreen89

Scare Tactics

By Jason Green

Survival horror games haven’t been prevalent for quite some time.

Well, on consoles that is.

The last game that legitimately scared me was Dead Space. The sequel, much like the sequels to the Resident Evil games, delved into a more action oriented approach.

On PCs, however, there are a few games that are still considered horror games, and one of them is called Slender.

Slender is, by far, one of the scariest games I’ve played. The concept is extremely simple. You start out in the woods, with just a small flashlight, and are tasked with collecting 8 ripped pages  before the Slender Man comes and kills you.

With each page you collect, he gets faster and faster. You never know where he’s going to end up, whether it by around the corner, several feet behind you, or right next to you.

The scares come from the element of surprise and the creepy ambiance. The droning music, loud footsteps, and the Slender Man himself.

The Slender Man, by the way, is just a very tall, pale looking creature that one would think is a mythological beast along the lines of Bigfoot and The Jersey Devil.

Actually, the Slender Man originated from the forums on Something Awful. It seemed like a joke at first, but the creator of Slender made the Slender Man into a terrifying monstrosity.

Have a look for yourself:

So in an age where the horror genre is being over shadowed by action, just know that there is a very… slender… beacon of hope.

Oh yeah, Slender is completely free to download. Remember to play with headphones, turn off the lights, and have your eyes an inch away from the screen.

Enjoy!

@JayGreen89

Video Games And Me

By Jason Green

In lieu of thinking of a topic to discuss, I thought I’d turn the tables to myself and talk about how much of a passion I have for gaming.

To begin, I got my first console in 1997, which was the famous Nintendo 64. I remember my grandma giving it to me for my birthday.

I couldn’t have been happier. Ripping open that box to see the big N on it is a cherished memory.

The first game I got for it, which was packaged with the console, was Star Fox 64.

I remember plugging the console into my TV, popping in Star Fox, and being blown away.

The very first level of the game had me in awe, with its bright colors, fast movement, and booming sound effects.

From that moment on, I was hooked.

The Nintendo 64 was the pioneer to my love for video gaming.

In 2001 I got my second console, the Playstation 2 and the first games I got for that was James Bond: Agent Under Fire and WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It.

It was a little tough for me to get a PS2 only because I was such a huge Nintendo fan for years, but I decided on the PS2 because it was already out for a year at that point and had more games.

In retrospect, I made the right decision.

As the years went on, my love for video games solidified.

These weren’t just games to me, they were separate experiences that would suck me in and not let me go.

After I graduated high school, I did two years at a community college. While I was there, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life.

I always toyed with the thought of wanting to do something in the gaming industry, but never thought I could make it. I was never a big fan of writing, and did poorly in game design class.

I felt like I hit a brick wall.

Than, one day, I discovered a funny little video game podcast called Podcast Beyond hosted by Greg Miller, Colin Moriarty, and Ryan Clements of IGN.com.

After listening for a few weeks and really enjoying it, I said to myself “yeah, this is what I want to do.”

Listening to that podcast showed me how much fun these guys have, and how amazing it would be to get paid to talk about, write about, and play video games.

As I mentioned before, I was never the biggest fan of writing, but from that point on I was determined to make myself like it.

Currently, I am enrolled at Rowan University and majoring in Public Relations. I chose PR because it will help my writing skills tremendously and has a lot of “breathing room” when it comes to jobs.

My goal being to either work in video game PR or to be a journalist for a website like IGN.

For now, I bring this blog to you, my fellow gamers, with the hopes and dreams of one day writing for a big company such as IGN, or Gamespot, and anything similar.

To close off this little piece; video games will always be a part of me. They’re there for me when I’m bored, there for me to blog about, and there for my future career.

Oh, and last year at the NYC Comic Con, I met Greg Miller and Colin Moriarty.

Colin Moriarty and I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greg Miller and I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@JayGreen89