Toxicity of Competitive Gaming

Boy, are competitive games popular. A couple years back, League of Legends was dominating E-sports. Then, Overwatch joined in on the popularity and is still reigning today. A year ago, PUBG becomes the most popular online competitive game. Being a shooter game, it attracted many gamers. But now, the game Fortnite has taken over.

Players of all different backgrounds joined onto 100 player battle-royale matches, all aiming to kill everybody else and become #1.

Winning and losing doesn’t really matter since it just gaming right? Well, this is the problem.

Competitive Gaming has a history of toxicity in the form of verbal. mental and even physical abuse. Let’s start with League of Legends:

I remember back in middle school when I first played League of Legends. The problem with the game was that it had a ranking system that is based on having to win a majority of your games. This was stressful and based on your teammates. The problem: the servers were laggy and teammates were randomly chosen. In any team playing a ranked match, there would most likely be two good players, one decent player, and two bad players. (Each team had five members) Most good players end up blaming the other teammates if they lose a match. Most bad players end up feeling bad for throwing the match. This matchmaking creates a toxic environment in which players bash on each other since victory was crucial into determining your ranking.

Overwatch lessens this problem by having designated roles on each team. Other roles, other than dealing damage are to be either a tank or a healer. The great thing about this is that if you suck at dealing damage, you can try other roles and see if any fit you. This lessens the gap between good players and bad players. To add on, you are always moving in the game, and it is very attentive compared to League. Players don’t have the time to waste on trash talking other players since they are too busy trying to fulfill the objective.

Toxicity2

PUBG and Fortnite take on a different type of toxicity. You can’t message random players to verbally abuse them. On the website Youtube, there are “Youtubers” who exploit the audience and others to become viral. These Youtubers do challenges with their date like “1 kill, 1 strip” or “1 kill, 1 makeout”. This is using clickbait and taking advantage of children to get views. This is a form of toxicity that makes the gaming community looked down upon.

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Out of all types of games, competitive ones build up the most rage, and this rage may be spent on physical abuse of oneself or others. There are many cases in which one would hit something or someone to release anger. This is the unhealthiest type of toxicity, and I can only hope that these people don’t develop high blood pressure.

In conclusion, competitive games have their own kind of toxicity, more apparent than other types of games. It is through containing this toxicity that gamers are able to take a step into being a mature gamer.

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VR: The Future of Gaming?

Who would of thought that we would come this far in technology? You don’t have to be rich to afford virtual reality gaming. As long as you save your money, you can afford to experience the video game world three-dimensionally. Virtual reality gaming comes in many forms.

First, there is the Samsung VR where you attach your Samsung phone to a device in which you strap to your eyes. However, the limit of your experience is based on what mobile games are available in VR.

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Next, you have devices like the Oculus Rift/PS4 VR in which most VR games fall into. Here, you will see games that companies specifically created titles for. You will also see many mainstream games translated into VR. Games like this are Fallout 4 VR and Minecraft VR. Still, these VR games are limited to your sense of vision and action through controllers.

Lastly is the bad and the boujee: VR gaming that encompasses your other sense. This is the most expensive type of VR gaming. In gun games, there will be a machine in which it will let you experience walking/moving inside of the game. There will be a physical prop, like a gun, that you will use for shooting. And lastly, there is the eyewear used for vision. As you can probably tell, this type of gaming is limited only to those with a lot of cash.

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There are certain cons that come with VR gaming now. For the Samsung VR, the battery on your phone is actually dying through extensive use. Just by watching Netflix on VR for ten minutes, my phone overheated to the point where I had to leave it outside to cool off. The Oculus Rift/Playstation VR requires its own spacious room to function. Similar to a Kinect, it needs to read your location and movements.

However, VR gaming is the future. It is an accumulation of our desire to live in a fantastical world. I believe that these cons will be fixed through future technology and that, just maybe, we can all afford VR gaming that encompasses all sense: Real Virtual Reality.

(Look at Ready, Player, One)

Game Movies: A Lot of L’s

Let’s be honest here: Hardly any video game movie interpretation has done the game right. Here is a list of video game movies:

Tekken
5. Tekken (2010)
The King of Fighters
Max Payne
8. Max Payne (2008)
Far Cry
9. Far Cry (2008)
Hitman
10. Hitman (I) (2007)
Postal
12. Postal (2007)
DOA: Dead or Alive
14. DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)
Silent Hill
15. Silent Hill (2006)
BloodRayne
16. BloodRayne (2005)
Doom
17. Doom (2005)
Alone in the Dark
18. Alone in the Dark (2005)
House of the Dead
21. House of the Dead (2003)
Resident Evil
22. Resident Evil (2002)
Wing Commander
25. Wing Commander (1999)
Mortal Kombat
27. Mortal Kombat (1995)
Street Fighter
28. Street Fighter (1994)
Double Dragon
29. Double Dragon (1994)
Super Mario Bros.
30. Super Mario Bros. (1993)
House of the Dead 2
31. House of the Dead 2 (2005 TV Movie)
33. Gears of War (I)
43. Dead Space (I)
Dead Space: Downfall
44. Dead Space: Downfall (2008 Video)
Dead Space: Aftermath
45. Dead Space: Aftermath (2011 Video)
Halo Legends
46. Halo Legends (2010 Video)
Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie
Siren
52. Siren (2006)
Clannad
54. Clannad
Red Faction: Origins
58. Red Faction: Origins (2011 TV Movie)
Hitman: Agent 47
64. Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)
Assassin's Creed
65. Assassin’s Creed (2016)
66. Tomb Raider (2018)
67. Rampage (2018)
Based on some of my viewings of these movies and their audience’s reactions, none of these movies could be considered a masterpiece.
Many huge movie-producing companies simply believe that since the movie will be based on video games, it will be bound to be a huge hit. There isn’t enough thought put into the plot of the movie and the casting. Assassin’s Creed story-lines aren’t meant to all be pushed into one single movie with a run time of two hours.
There hasn’t been a video game-based movie that impressed me yet. Every time I leave the cinema, I leave disappointed. But I am still hopeful.
I believe that there will come a video game movie with the right director who will make the right decisions. As long as that director puts effort into making a sold interpretation of the narrative of the game, then the time will come.

 

How Much Money is a Game Worth?

Games over the decade have had different ranges of prices as the years go by. Back in the early 2000’s, most games had a maximum price tag of 20$. At the end of the 2000’s, we began to see games in the 40$ range, but for the last couple of years, games from maxed at 60$. With these different prices and with the rising inflation, do you find that these games are worth buying?

Games differ in pricing based on the age. New games that are under big companies will max the price, but as the years go by and it becomes outdated, the price drops accordingly. For example, Fallout 4, back in 2016, was 60$, but now it is about 20$ (10$ PC download). The console of the game itself could be outdated. You will find Guitar Hero 3 discs for under three dollars at your local GameStop. After all, the Xbox 360 is outdated technology and many current gamers moved on to PC/PS4/XBOXOne.

Games differ in pricing based on the rarity of the game or type. The Pokemon games will always be expensive even if old. Pokemon cartridges will range from 25$ to 40$ depending on the game and how old it is. Some of the gameboy Pokemon games even cost more than they did originally. High-rated games from handheld devices still retain their high price despite how outdated the game is.  Having a mint condition of an old Pokemon Yellow now costs over 250$, which is just absurd.

Games differ in pricing based on rating. Games with higher acclaim tend to stay at their max price later than those with lower. Stores know that those games will sell more, so there is not as much of a need to lower the price. Games like Oblivion, Mass Effect 3, and GTA V, tended to stay their max price unless there was a special sale.

Enough with the pricing, how much is a game worth to you? There are many things to take into account:

  1. Do you need the game right now? You can wait until the price drops to a price that you can afford. I remember not needing to buy Final Fantasy 15 immediately because I already had 3 other games to play first. Wait until a special sale or until an awaited drop in price.
  2. If online gaming is integral to the game, maybe you should buy it sooner when there is a more vibrant online gaming community? Aka Overwatch.
  3. Does the game have high ratings? Or do you know you will derive enjoyment worth the full price? Awards are given for a reason.

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A thing to note is that, with future games being announced at the next E3, prices will now be 80$ for a game.

Is that worth it for you?

The false hope rhythm games give to LGBT people

Let me specify the title more: I’ve been a fan of Japanese rhythm games for years now. The best example of one would be Love Live! School Idol Festival. In this game, you assume the role of a manager of these high school girls who are training to be idols. However, the “you” in the game has no name, face or gender, and is implied that it is a transfer of you from real life (or the “you” you wish to see in this world)

 

Image result for love live school idol festival
Love Live! School Idol Festival

 

Now, all the characters in this game are girls, so all the interactions they have with each other in the game becomes a ground for people, LGBT folk in particular, to interpret some or all of them to be lesbians. The practice of interpreting characters a bit differently is common practice for minorities such as those in the LGBT community as there is scarce representation for them in the media, which includes games. While being in the community for this game, I’ve encountered many people who do this and are part of the LGBT community, and I’ve heard from them about others in the same situation, so I find it very believable that this is not an isolated incident.

However, in the back of their minds they know that this game isn’t meant for them. This game, and the girls inside it, were produced in a way to appeal to straight cis-male consumers. So although this game can be a sort of outlet for those in the LGBT, we need to work for media where its goal directly and openly includes representation.

Finding a Definition of Personal “Fun” in the Context of Video Games

Before taking this class, I had never imagined that video games could be deliberated and expounded upon in so many different ways. Through instigated investigation, I found that my experiences with video games were not simply fun. I felt implicated and related when we discussed the many ways video games affect us and impact our perceptions of “meat space”.

Though I do have a lot of fun playing video games, there were certainly some instances where I didn’t play video games solely for a fun sort of enjoyment. As a kid, I remember “playing” the educational computer game Reader Rabbit. Learning basic skills of math and reading became fun when achieved through this exciting interface. But soon I wasn’t becoming excited about my educational achievements in the game; rather, I enjoyed playing the game for similar reasons I play “noneducational” games now: to break boredom and achieve reward through some depersonalized medium. Soon, I moved on to more advanced educational computer games. When I became too old to play these sorts of games, I began finding random games online that really didn’t do very much for me besides waste time. I remember a lot of these games weren’t even enjoyable in the conventional sense…they were a means to overcoming boredom, and occasionally gave me some form of removed reward. When we discuss the ability video games have to affect our bodies and impact our perspectives, I begin to deliberate what my enjoyment means in a more macroscopic sense, and how much “fun” continues to be a factor in my choosing to play video games. And what that fun means to me.

The fetishization of East Asian Men in esports

On a previous blog post I talked about some of the forms of racism that many East Asian Overwatch League players face. One that I will bring forth today is the more overlooked yet still alarming one, which is the demasculinization and fetishization of East Asian men.

While interacting with other fans, I noticed that many people would describe these Korean and Chinese players as people that were “too wholesome for this world”, “so pure”, or “extremely wholesome”. This was a bit disturbing to me. Most of these players are 18 years or older, and I rarely, if ever, saw comments that would depict them as anything other than cute players that could do no wrong. I thought I may have been too nitpicky and sensitive, as an Asian person myself.

ArK
Yeon-jun Hong “Ark” from the NYXL. Because of his bright and optimistic attitude, he has always been called as “cute” and “wholesome”

Most of these Asian players seem to be ok with these comments as well. However, that is not a solid reason that justifies such remarks; most of them have just started learning English, or aren’t very fluent in it, so it would be harder for them to understand nuances and subtle racism in language. They have also not lived outside of their home countries before they joined the Overwatch League, so they might have not experienced racism to the point where concepts such as microaggressions and cultural appropriation are seen as harmful.

However, I was not alone. I also encountered other East Asians like myself living outside of their ethnic countries who shared similar concerned views no this subtle trend in the Overwatch League community. It seems hard to find a “right” answer but bringing this subject up and discussing it should guide us towards it.

The Walking Dead is You

The Walking Dead series is about death. The Telltale games of the same series are exponentially more about death. 90% of the people you meet in each game die. The games tackle a lot of social issues that are present in society, but hidden in sight.

 

The first issue is obviously “who is the real enemy”? In the original Walking Dead Telltale Game, only in episode 1 were zombies your main worry; from that moment onwards it has been humans destroying each other. Mad leaders, cannibals and scared humans have caused far more death and destruction after the first couple of weeks that the zombies have. Humans live in this world where they’ve watched their loved ones die; Michonne contemplates suicide even. People are dehumanised and emotionally destroyed; no wonder they are their own worst enemies.

 

But this is fine as long as you’re in a group right? 20 fighting men with guns can probably deal with most problems, zombie-based or human-based. To the contrary, it seems that groups are just more prone to infighting and constant combat. Racism specifically and groupism in general is rampant; groups too rarely collaborate except if under attack by a bigger one. The zombie apocalypse gives us a choice; learn to accept that you need others to survive, live by yourself or die. You need to face the fact that without working with people you dislike, you are not making it alive. But in every such group, there will be one asshole to “pull the grenade” and make everyone’s life worse. It is a lesson the games teach you quite well; the compassionate Lee tries to make a group that cannot work together work and dies in the end. Michonne and Clementine survive, because they realise they must walk their own path. How horrible is the world, yet how hidden that is from our eyes.

 

(This counts as double credit.)

Let it rain 1 over the land of games

http://gamestudies.org/0801/articles/barton

 

A short sum up of the article above would be as follows:

 

Video game designers choose to focus a lot more on design of the game elements you interact with than those who don’t. The biggest culprit is weather, with it being very unrealistically done. It would be great for several reasons if people did that.

 

I first and foremost wholeheartedly agree with the premise in theory. Witcher III comes to mind as a game made perfect in part because of the weather. Dynamic lighting and day and night cycles changed AI civilian behaviour, changed monster concentrations and enabled tides and such for new missions. Moving weather caused buffs and debuffs to monsters (not to mention surprise foglets out of nowhere) and many Witcher concoctions worked based on weather. On the other hand, the industry standard seems to be that the day/night cycle exists in open world games, but doesn’t affect much unless it is a key game mechanic (Think Until Dawn). Weather exists, but as the article puts it ,“a patch of grass might flow in the wind, but a character standing in the midst of a terrible rainstorm won’t even get wet.”

 

I wish to take it one step further than the article. As games become more complex and amazingly large, more mechanics need to be put it. Weather will greatly increase the game experience of thousands; if you’re a water mage, you can make dangerous missions easier by attacking while it is raining. Attack that caravan in the middle of the fog, or wait for fog monsters to attack them first. Make weather a gameplay mechanic instead of one that is just as important.

 

(This counts as double credit)

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