All week I’ve been vividly imagining the symbiotic relationship between Mountain Dew and Doritos whilst trying to figure out just how video games fit into it. Cross-promotion is a bizarre concept to me; I keep trying to see the links, the patterns and then I get scared and frustrated when it doesn’t all piece together. I’ve been having fevered nightmares about neon, corn-peppered shit slurry: really vivid, nasty stuff. I need to write this to exorcise them demons.
Smooth Jazz Sonic
This Smooth Jazz Sonic The Hedgehog playthrough video is the highlight of my week. Listen to this man’s velvety smooth tones and the sounds of soft jazz as he shows you just how relaxing Sonic The Hedgehog can be on easy mode. Don’t worry, because there should be no worries here, just easy mode good times. Smooth. I vote that all playthroughs be like this from hereon in. No more mouth-breathing dorks trying to kill an afternoon: it’s time to step your game up. Either you’re making me want your babies, or you’re just not trying hard enough.
Square Enix watch you at night, other times also
I don’t mean to alarm you, but Square Enix have taken to peeking in on us as we play games: covertly documenting our every move and collating it into what I imagine to be huge, intimidating and largely pointless spreadsheets. I’m not for one moment suggesting that Square Enix employees are lurking in your front room as you spend whole Sunday afternoons slumped in front of the screen, more that they collect and collate data concerning your play habits via your online gaming network of choice.
“Here’s how it works: a game like Sleeping Dogs will continually monitor and record the way you play, the options you select and the decisions you make. On a basic level this means things like tracking whether you invert your controls or not, but more elaborately it’s detected the fact some people are finding some parts of the game too difficult (presumably through the number of deaths recorded), so an impending update will make some difficulty tweaks.”
Apparently, the data is used to ‘fix’ games and make future titles even better. It’s sort of like the Patriot Act, but for games. Perhaps I should start reading those end user agreements: for all I know they could be watching me right now…God, I just hope they didn’t see me that time I accidentally breathed in my bellybutton lint as I went to smell it.
I feel like I forfeited any sort of privacy when I signed myself up to various social networks, so it’s not something I’m touchy about. I’m more worried about the mentality that this collected data encourages: one of mass appeal and the constant struggle to create some sort of perfect game that everyone would enjoy based on soulless data. I worry that it will encourage design by comity of the lowest order. Perhaps I worry too much, though.
Halo 4 is Microsoft’s most expensive game ever
When they’re not advertising Doritos and Mountain Dew, Microsoft find time to make the occasional video game. You may have heard of their latest venture; Halo 4, which just happens to be the most expensive one they’ve ever made.
“Halo 4 is the most expensive game Microsoft has ever made, Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer tells Polygon. It is “absolutely” the most money Microsoft has ever spent developing a game, he says. “Nothing’s even close.” ”
Halo 3‘s budget was an estimated $60 Million, with an estimated 50% of that being spent on marketing alone. Taking this into consideration, it’s fair to assume that Microsoft will be pushing the boat out when promoting Halo 4. Marketing innovations for this title may include the power to have your Xbox 360 utilize a 3D printer to directly beam Mountain Dew into your home and the game discs themselves will come in a variety of flavors including cool original and the all-new sweet chilli. I have also heard rumors that local waste disposal contractors will also be joining the charge to promote Halo 4. Operating under the assumption that your fecal matter will be little more than neon-colored slurry, special editions of the game will feature free enema coupons and direct-connect-ass-to-toilet waste tubes that remove the need to ever leave the console. These rumors are as-yet unconfirmed.
Robert Florence leaves Eurogamer after calling out game journalists
Sad news this week, as one of my favourite writers left Eurogamer.net. Respected broadcaster and writer, Robert Florence took it upon himself to leave his regular guest column after statements concerning one Lauren Wainright were considered libelous. The column was later edited to remove any mention of Wainwright and her publicly tweeting about Eidos games in order to win a PS3 at the Games Media Awards. Florence pointed out the potential hypocrisy of Wainwright: particularly her earlier career which saw her being a freelance journalist and working PR for Eidos at the same time. Florence bowed out gracefully, simply singing off with a Facebook post that read “I had to quit a job I loved today”.
At least his swansong was an excellent one and the furor surrounding it will hopefully make many more people aware of how inherently crooked games journalism is. At the very least, more of us may consider why so-called ‘Triple A’ titles rarely fall short of an 8 out of 10 mark. However, I want all PR companies and publishers to bear in mind how easily bought off I am. Free games and trips abroad will work wonders with me.
’Lucky’ gamers to participate in unpaid labor
Whilst I don’t really have intimate knowledge of the financial statuses of video game developers, I’d wager that they probably earn a decent wage. Unless I’m completely wide of the mark, I’m sure that Art Directors and Writers aren’t somehow neglected; forced to live on tinned mackerel and tap water as they slowly suffer for their respective arts. So, I’m inclined to ask the question: why are they asking us to do their jobs for them?
Capcom are giving fans the chance to have their memories and fake advertisement ideas featured in their up-coming cyberpunk action title Remember Me. Rather than design all of their own art assets, Capcom are allowing lowly gamers to do the work and will thank them with the honor of featuring in the game. Not like Michael Mamaril, the deceased Gearbox fan who was honored in Borderlands 2: not that kind of honor. No, I’m talking about the honor of helping someone weasel out of a job, yet still see them get paid for it. Along with creating fake advertisements to be used in the game, fans are also being asked to submit photos of cherished memories to be used in ‘memory overload’ sequences: cleverly circumventing the need to pay Facebook by asking us to submit them willingly. The cheek of it all.
Perhaps I’ll enter that competition myself. I’ll submit images of hideous, nightmarish neon crap slurry in the hope that they slip through the net: mentally scarring all those who gaze upon its horror. Sweet dreams.