Fat Worm Blows A Sparky

Hey gamers,

As some of you may remember, my last post involved the excitement I had in being invited back to E3 for the second year running.

And There Was Much Rejoicing.

And There Was Much Rejoicing.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst, and I came down with something shortly after.

Editors Dramatization

Editors Dramatization

Having regained my wits, and possessing a renewed sense of vitality, I was excited to get back to the gaming grind. As I mentioned last week, I look forward to sharing with all of you, a treasure trove of assets and stories from last years E3, something I’ve been meaning to get to since about this moment in time. I never mean to hesitate, but it ends up happening on a continual basis. I can only speculate my constant delays involve how the creative process can be an unpredictable beast; one plagued with narcolepsy, sporadically remaining dormant, only to chaotically awaken at the worst moments.

Creativity Can Be Lurking Around Every Corner

Creativity Can Be A Very Horrifying Process

I didn’t show up here with an agenda today, aside from an attempt at entertainment (wait for it), as my focus has been rather divided. A lot of people I hear giving recommendations on how to “get shit done”, will suggest being a master of multi-tasking, which I’ve concluded is a load of claptrap. I know it’s probably different for everyone of course, but I find I do some of my “best work” when I’m not thinking about it, merely doing instead of thinking of doing. Apparently, this is referred to as wu wei in Taoism, though I assure you, my own machinations are far from mystical.

Pictured: How I Normally Get My Article Ideas

Pictured: How I Normally Get My Article Ideas

Dancing naked to Goodbye Horses isn’t the only thing I did while trying to come up with the motivation to start writing today, the list was extensive:

Died in Super Meat Boy a lot-

About Five Minutes Worth Of Dead Bodies Here

About Five Minutes Worth Of Gameplay, Here.

Changed clothes-

I Was Feeling 12thy Today

I Was Feeling 12thy Today

Ate some ice cream- (See Above)

Enjoyed a nip of whiskey-

Whiskey

Listened to the Attack on Titan theme song way too many times-

Foreshadowing is Fun!

Foreshadowing is Fun!

Browsed pictures of Panda Bears:

What Fun

Like This One!

Debated with myself about self-awareness and quality of work-

Walter: Is This Your Article, Pash? The Dude: We Know It's His Fucking Article, Where's The Fucking Content You Little Brat!

Walter: Is This Your Article, Pash?
The Dude: We Know It’s His Fucking Article, Where’s The Fucking Content You Little Brat!?

I believe all of these things occurred in my own wu wei, but I don’t think being buzzed and imitating Buffalo Bill is what Taoists had in mind when coming up with the concept. However ridiculous this aside may seem, I wanted to stress two points: getting shit done is sometimes an absurd process, and two, if you find your own flow, it’s not about doing one task or doing many tasks, you will simply task, and results will follow.

Or Not

Or Not

I recently picked up my second replacement 3DS. While I am grateful to get my hands on the device for a third time, I also can’t avoid feeling a little silly I’ve somehow estranged myself from so many at this point. I’m seriously considering surgically grafting this fucking thing to my body, so as to avoid having the device become lost or damaged once again. Some of the longer time readers won’t at all be surprised that the game I’m currently playing is indeed a Zelda game. However, a similar number of you may be surprised I’m not about to do a 17 part retrospective mini-series about Majora’s Mask, and how it relates to both culture and time travel.

Heavy, I Know.

Heavy, I Know.

Rest assured, I’m enjoying it thoroughly, and I think the portable remake works just as well as Ocarina of Time did, but I wasn’t really struck with any sort of inspirational lightning bolt for an article this time round. Could be the divided focus I mentioned earlier, as I’ve been playing probably too many games recently, and not really getting stuck on a single one. Which is what I should likely do, as I tend to uncover truths or identify more interesting concepts when I house arrest myself in a virtual reality for a long enough time. I also spread myself too thin, foolishly thinking in a single week, I can halt an apocalypse, reconsider my stance on nuclear deterrents, prevent history from dying, conclude whether or not free will truly exists, keep the high score of Ms.Pacman at a local barcade intact…

My flow is a no go, and those who depend on me are suffering for it.

Is he really not coming this time? Because I'm totally going to push them off this shit.

Is he really not coming this time? Because I’m totally going to push them off this shit.

So yeah. That’s really it. This piece was suppose to be a warm up, and the unfortunate reality is that warm ups aren’t really top shelf dealings, but I had a couple of okay jokes in here so, yeah.

Animaniacs

~Pashford

P.S: You know, on second thought, it does feel a bit wrong I’m not excitedly espousing about Zelda, as I’ve done such a good job of it in the past, I think I’ll leave you guys with a poll, on whether or not my next article should be about Zelda. Just click on one of the buttons below and tell me what you think.

POLL: Do you think Pashford should write about Majora’s Mask for his next article?

Yes []
No []

Cheers,
~Pashford

P.P.S: Some of you may be wondering why I named the article “Fat Worm Blows A Sparky”, and the reason for the title is simple. The article title is actually the name of a 1986 ZX Spectrum game that shares the same name, and I believe the experience of playing the game, is as confusing as this article was to write, and read there after.

See for yourself:

I told you the title made sense.

~Pashford

Leave a comment

Filed under Active Time Event

E3: 2nd Coming

Hey gamers,

So, this happened today:

So Happened

So Happened

No, not the actual event, but my invite as a member of the press to E3 itself. I was invited last year, which was quite the ordeal (an amazing one at that), and needless to say, it’s a huge relief to have been invited once again. I’ve been so busy working, enjoying, and celebrating the occasion, I’ve had very little time to produce anything new of value today.

Except For, You Know, All Of This.

Except For, You Know, This Whole Thing

In any case, I thought I would share my extreme excitement about the event, and all of the hype that is sure to follow. I live blogged and wrote about my experiences last year, and will very much do the same this year. I have plenty of pictures and stories I have yet to share on a mass scale from E3 2014, and am excited to show all of you in the months to follow. I have lots of ambition, tons of ideas, and a ridiculous amount of excitement to speak of, but right now, I have a lot to be thankful for, and thought it would be nice to share it all with you.

Cheers.

~Pashford

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Peace Stalker

Hey Gamers,

I had plans today to refocus, and write on a more consistent basis going forward.

Those Plans, Sadly, Walked Away From Me.

Those Plans, Sadly, Walked Away From Me.

I wish I could blame my lack of a full writing effort today directly on a Metal Gear, as they would make my excuse way cooler. I did get distracted by a Metal Gear Solid game (Peace Walker), so in a sense, twas the beauty that distracted the beast. My reexamination of Peace Walker as a game has been spurned on by the recent news of Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima leaving Konami, and like most of the gaming community, the news has left me in shock and awe.

Kojima? KOJIMA?! KOJIMAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kojima? KOJIMA?! KOJIMAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know Hideo Kojima has wanted to get away from the MGS series for awhile now (with some quotes placing his want to leave the series for good since way back in the MGS 2 days), but I’m not sure this is how he envisioned stepping away. Gamers too have wanted Kojima to quit working on the MGS series, some fans starting an internet meme stating “Hideo Kojima doesn’t have to work on Metal Gear games any more”, to see the director work on other fan favorites, like Zone of the Enders or an original IP, but now that the time has come, it all seems too soon.

Even Though In Reality, It's Been A Hell Of A Long Time.

Even Though In Reality, It’s Been A Hell Of A Long Time

Digressing a bit back to my replay of Peace Walker, the game ties into Kojima leaving, as the MGS series and I have been kind of distant for awhile. Since MGS 4, and the subsequent passing of Solid Snake, I had resolved myself as content, leaving behind a rich background of stealth and Snakes in my wake. While I still loved the idea of the series, both Peace Walker and Ground Zeroes, felt like a marked departure for the series, feeling different in some way. Different enough so that after playing both games, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of them, even speaking out more critically on the experiences after some pondering time, in ways I had never done prior to any games before them.

I'm 70% Serious

I’m 70% Serious

Now that I know Kojima is leaving, and Phantom Pain is very likely to be his last, I almost feel…divided as a fan, perhaps even confused, as to how the series and I drifted apart from each other in recent years. I thought to myself: “Do I really want to skip out on Phantom Pain? Divide myself from the last Kojima driven MGS experience?” The line of thought sounded wrong to me, and I thought, maybe, there was a way to understand why my alienation from the series had occurred. Whether it was due to my developing and differing interests in games, the series going into another direction, or perhaps the business powers that be within Konami that had subtly altered the experience without me realizing it, I wanted to give both Peace Walker and Ground Zeroes another chance.

In hopes to understand why I didn’t “feel” Phantom Pain, for better or worse.

Just In Case The Sun Was Setting On Metal Gear Solid

Just In Case The Sun Was Setting On Kojima’s Metal Gear For Good

I realized I wanted to be there when night broke, and not be left curious as to what it felt like when the last lights had finally faded into nothingness.

(To Be Continued)

~Pashford

Leave a comment

Filed under Active Time Event

The Stanely Parable: The Choice of Non-Choices

Let’s start again.

Hey Gamers,

I’d like to first begin with an apology, but I feel as if I need to explain myself a bit before it will make any sense…err wait. No, sorry! This is an introduction to another post. Well, I guess it all worked out, because I needed to apologize for that mistake anyways, didn’t I?

Not Sure If Referencing Inception Or Just Tired

Not Sure If Trying To Be Self-Referential Or Meta

Let’s start again.

I’m going to be very direct here: this piece is about the video game The Stanley Parable, and the following observations will be a deconstruction about the games premise. I say this very simply now, as the game itself deals with a lot of odd concepts that can be hard to follow. I myself, also deal with a lot of odd concepts that can be hard to follow (see: writing about The Stanley Parable). My writing can also reflect the very same structure of The Stanley Parable, as sometimes, my own articles end up being odd enough to the point of being hard to follow (see: writing about The Stanley Parable). Therefore, I will try to “cut the fat” of my own bizarre writing machinations, as The Stanley Parable will do more than enough heavy lifting, in the department of oddly hard followings.

Oddly enough, the game is in fact, not that hard to follow.

Which is made further odd, by the fact that you really only have two open doors to choose from.

The Illusion of Choice

Are you still with me? Anyone who successfully finished that last sentence: good, I’m glad you don’t mind being a bit odd, or reading about odd things. Before we really begin, I’d like to say as an aside, I often pick topics that are much larger than myself to tackle, regularly leading to an otherwise questionable ending. I’m not sure if taking on something much larger than myself is foolish or courageous, or if there is much of a difference between the two, but this topic stands as something I may not yet fully grasp. However, after playing The Stanley Parable quite extensively in the past several days, I will point out that the comparisons between me and the experience itself are alike, as the game deals with larger subject matters of interest, with The Stanley Parable regularly leads to an otherwise questionable ending.

Or A Broom Closet

Or A Broom Closet

Let’s start again.

I’d like to first begin with an apology, but I feel as if I need to explain myself a bit before it will make any sense…err wait. No, sorry! This is an introduction to another post. Err, actually no, we’ve come full circle, this is a relevant apology for this very post, twice over now, even. Whew, glad I haven’t quite confused myself yet. Are you still with me? Anyone who successfully finished that last sentence: good, I’m glad you don’t mind being a bit odd, or reading about odd things. As you may have noticed, this post has been a little “restarty” in trying to get itself headed in the right direction, but this very writing is in many ways, mimicking, or perhaps even emulating how The Stanley Parable (TSP) plays out. You see, TSP is a first person narrative adventure game, but it stands out from other experiences as being self-aware.

Or, as self-aware as programming can be, really.

Seen Here: You Playing The Stanley Parable

Seen Here: You Playing The Stanley Parable

Why TSP stands out as a delightful narrative experience is this very reason: self-awareness, and the games want to confront the ideas of choice. In fact, the game confronted me so very well about the ideas of choice and self-awareness, I was self-aware enough to make the choice to write this article about being odd.

Seen Here: You Reading This Article

Seen Here: You Reading This Article

Though, I suppose, I didn’t really have a choice in being self-aware, did I? Nor did I have a choice at all about writing this post, as both things happened in the end, anyways. So, now, when I really think about it, could I really choose not to be self-aware? Wouldn’t the very idea of choosing to be unaware, effectively come from a self-aware decision? Did I really have a choice in writing this article? And to that point, if I really had a choice in writing this article, would you even be reading it right now? And why would I be needing all of these question marks in the first place?

Good Question?

Good Question?

Let’s start again.

I’m serious in discussing TSP, the process of doing so is as straight forward as the game itself. I know way earlier on I said I would “cut the fat” with my own bizarre writing machinations, and believe me, the fat has been cut. I however, wish to do justice to the odd nature of TSP’s romance with self-awareness and confronting the ideas of choice….by doing both. I think.

Err, told you this would be hard to follow. Here, maybe some pictures from The Stanley Parable will help you understand the game better than I have so far explained.

2015-03-12_00002

Did This Help? No? Okay, Let’s Try Another One.

 

How About This One?

How About This One? Any Clearer?

 

This One Didn't Help Either, Did It?

This One Doing Anything For Yah?

Eh, wrong approach or incorrect choice of words, perhaps. I wonder if there really is such a thing… There I go again! Okay…we’re all taking a step back now, and doing what we do best, here.

Let’s start again.

You see, much like this article, TSP has a lot of restarting in it, like, a lot a lot. No, it’s not due to extreme difficulty, and no, it’s not because you have to back track a lot or because you can get stuck (well, both are true, but not really). No, the constant restarting has to do with confronting the ideas of choice (in video games) and self-awareness, as TSP is rather straight forward if you want it to be. The “main story” can be completed in less than 10 minutes even, but if one were to complete this game only once, and in this short manner, one may miss the entire point of the game, which is funny, because in order the beat the game, all you have to do is follow the narration. However, doing so would help to negate the point of TSP, which is confronting the ideas of choice and having self-awareness, both of which only occurs when you acknowledge either, which I guess means the point of TSP could be about how progress is a fixed path,  and how there really is only one real choice which is one of non-choice.

Which is made further odd, by the fact that you really only have two open doors to choose from.

EDIT: The Illusion of Non-Choice

If this is true, then this whole article may be completely wrong about The Stanley Parable, in which case, I wish I could have first began with an apology, but realized I needed to explain myself a little first before it made any sense.

Let’s start again.

No wait, before we do that, for anyone who is just really “over” this article, you’re free to go. I’ll save you the trouble of reading any further, by letting you know you’ve reached the conclusion of this article.

I’m serious, just look at the next picture.

You Win!

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of the article!

~Pashford

The Fake End

White

White

White
Let’s start again.

2015-03-12_00033

Okay, I’m assuming anyone who’s kept reading up to THIS POINT, is a really curious individual. For that, I applaud you, as you’re exactly the kind of person who would likely love playing The Stanley Parable. The ideas and concepts TSP deals with have been made evident up to this point, but it’s really how the game executes these ideas that are so note worthy. I don’t know if TSP is the first “postmodern” game (or example of one) that has ever existed, but it may have done it the best thus far.

A Random Screenshot That Doesn't Really Spoil Anything

Pictured: A Random Screenshot That Doesn’t Really Spoil Anything

The primary reason I wrote this article was due to the games skeptically playful nature of meta-narrative, and how well it deals with dissecting, and even re-purposing  the theories behind video games as a medium (with healthy awareness). While I was playing TSP, I was reminded of an episode of the Idea Channel (which was another big inspiration for this write up), as the video deals with a lot of the same concepts going on in TSP. The episode in question deals with the idea of the TV show Community being a representation of postmodernism, and naturally I began to wonder the same thing about The Stanley Parable, as I observed similarly equatable antics.

In the Idea Channel episode, Mike goes on to discuss how Community may be a postmodern work of television, as it uses tropes and ideas that exist in modern TV, and uses them for Community’s own purposes, but then deconstructs them with a certain self-awareness, with the show going as far as absorbing, commenting, and challenging the legitimacy of all of the elements in that multidimensional space.  The Stanley Parable does much the same, as it acts out as a representation of everything going on in video games as a medium, whether good or bad, and then uses them for entertainment, all the while questioning whether or not these concepts are good and bad, and whether it matters.

The Stanley Parable takes on what makes a video game work, the paradoxes involved, narrating on how it’s able to work, and then even going as far as trying to disprove that the very same concepts even work at all.

Is There Ever Really A Choice?

Is There Ever Really A Choice?

I mean, in a basic sense, the game is self-aware, as The Narrator of the game is aware he is a narrator, that the players avatar Stanley exists, and that he is even being controlled by somebody (you, to an extent), though it could be argued all three are symbiotically controlling each other, all existing as a result of the illusion of choices, in order for the idea of a game to exist in the first place. Obviously, the game has programming limitations, just like any video game does, so this self-awareness while in existence, can only do so to a certain logical end. As an example,  you in turn can  not “follow” The Narrator (despite his omni-presence) by choosing “incorrectly”, the biggest choice in the game being choosing between two open doors, but by the virtue of the game allowing you to choose, you in a sense have just chosen “correctly”, as any choice, even a non-choice, would have been a right one.

Press 2
Its this odd dichotomy of “choice”, or the lack there of within the games parameters, that works quite brilliantly, and helps to make a unique meta-narrative experience in the world of gaming.

I  was tempted to go on further, and examine more quotes and many of the endings The Stanley Parable possesses, in an attempt to better understand the existentialism at play, how the phrase “it’s the journey and not the destination” that matters, and even speculate on whether choice really is an illusion, in how we live our every day lives….but I won’t. I won’t because it would spoil a lot of the charm of what makes The Stanley Parable such an enjoyable experience, and why you should go play the game, and see for yourself what critical thinking it may provoke.

I’ll just wait here.

Unless of course, you wanted to have a little bit more fun, of course…and go around one more time. We can do it all again, if you really want to.

Let’s start again.

~Pashford

(And as a special reward for those who read this far who wanted to speed run this post for an even faster time, CLICK HERE!!)

Leave a comment

Filed under The Stanley Parable

Enhancing History: Video Games And The Forgotten Experiences

Hey Gamers,

I’d like to first begin with an apology, but I feel as if I need to explain myself a bit before it will make any sense. So instead, I think I’ll start by mentioning I’m a fan of proverbs and adages, as I feel the truly powerful ones bare relevancy no matter the time period. I discovered such a quotation recently in trying to relive the past, and I thought I’d share it with you today.

Arena Best Techniques
That’s a quote from Arena, the first Elder Scrolls game that came out in 1994. The quote is from a fictional character, yes, but the statements power remains intact, and I refuse to discredit fiction as irrelevant. In any case, Arena will be the crux of what I am discussing today, in trying to right a wrong by celebrating a video game from the past, and an experience that we should not allow to remain buried in amnesia and obscurity.

Speaking of loving adages, there goes an old saying along the lines of “History is doomed to repeat itself”, a sentiment I think a lot of us don’t apply to our every day.

Peter Molyneux 2

Or Ever

Despite humans having self-awareness and adaptability, we are routinely forgetful and inflexible , very often forgetting mistakes we’ve already made, and having the unwillingness to avoid making them again. This applies just as much to video games as it does to the every day, as companies, developers and even gamers mistakenly repeat themselves, almost hilariously so, every generation. Online focused experiences being a prime example of how our over promises, deluded optimism, and even personal expectations all get the better of us…despite the fact that we’ve all been guilty of the exact same failings already.

 It's Like This Has Never Happened Before

It’s Like This Has Never Happened Before

People under delivering or over expecting too much are common themes throughout game history. Seemingly, we as a collective are routinely surprised by all of our missteps, I speculate, due to a cyclical cycle we all help to create. In the case of forgetting the past and being disappointed by the future, we want the latest and greatest thing, and we all regularly make the mistake of defaulting to the idea that the latest thing must be the greatest thing, which is not a guaranteed reality. Maybe it doesn’t always seem so apparent or easy in the moment to not delude ourselves so much, which leads me to invoke another old phrase “hindsight is 20/20″. Whatever leads us to forget the past or expect too much from the future, we do it time and time again, ad infinitum etc etc.

So it goes.

And On And On It Goes.

And On And On It Goes.

Despite my rather sporadic attempts in looking at some of gamings biggest offenders in repeating their past mistakes, this article is not reviewing major industry oversights and the mediums biggest offenders.  As I previously mentioned, I’m looking  specifically at The Elder Scrolls: Arena, and just how it manged to slip through the cracks of gaming history due to some bizarre unluckiness. This entire article was inspired by another write up I read over at Gamasutra, where Felipe Pepe writes about the dangers of letting the gaming industry “curates its own past”, a dangerous process brought upon by what I’ve already discussed, which is indeed setting our expectations for the future so high, while simultaneously forgetting what made our pasts so great.

One of the key ideas that acted as a Genesis for this very article were some of Pepes very first written lines:

“Recently I was asked to give a short lesson about CRPG history in a game design class of about 30 students. I started by asking how many had played Skyrim. All raised their hands. Then I asked how many considered themselves to be really hardcore fans of the Elder Scrolls series. About 60% kept their hands raised. The next question: “how many of you played Oblivion”? Now only 20% still has held their hands high. Only two hands remained in the air when I asked about Morrowind, and none at all when I asked about Daggerfall and Arena.”

What I Assume Pepes Reaction Looked Like

As Pepe goes on to discuss, one of the reasons this revelation baffled him was due to the fact that these students were going to school for game design, a majority of which had identified as “hardcore Elder Scrolls Fans”. My own reaction was similar to Pepe,at least in regards to almost none of them having played Morrowind. I remind you now that Morrowind was a  game that came out in 2002, and one of which I’ve seen second hand retail and on Steam sale for less than ten dollars. I chuckle now in defense of topical ignorance, however, as when I worked at Gamestop back when Oblivion was coming out, before the title had even launched, the majority of people didn’t even know the game belonged to “The Elder Scroll Series”, merely thinking Oblivion was the direct sequel to the “first installment”: Morrowind.

The Well Known Sequel In The Morrowind Series

The Well Known Sequel In The Morrowind Series

I’m basically trying to give an ounce of credit to the design students, as gamers who were excited for Oblivion in it’s prime didn’t even know what the hell the game technically was, so here here to observation levels failing all around.

Digressing back to Pepes article, and as he rightfully observes, the two earliest titles(both Arena and Daggerfall) which none of the students had played, are indeed freely available to download on the internet by Bethesda themselves, so the excuses for not having played any of the prior titles were extremely limited. When he confronted the students about not having played the old games, they admitted in being embarrassed about their lack of interaction with the old titles, but their defenses were simple: they were “old games, that had dated badly and were outclassed by newer releases”…basically disregarding the games as lesser quality, despite not having actually played any of them.

In essence, their unfounded views disregarded an amazing series and in turn, devalued the older titles and gaming history itself because:
“old, who cares lol”.

YOU'RE ALL TO BLAME THAT HISTORY HAS DIED

YOU’RE ALL THE REASON HISTORY IS DYING

Pepe goes on to discuss just why gaming history is often forgotten, but his observations of why are another article I will write at a later date. His one point I will echo is indeed that the video game industry is one of the mediums that disregards its past work as inferior on a regular basis, to help create quality for the new products, going back to the “latest and greatest” premise I framed earlier. A lot of this is due to video games having this weird in-between relationship to both business and artistry, and how more so than books, music or movies, they are at the whim of technology, with games constantly disrespectful to past endeavors for new projects, and ultimately failing to preserve their meaning as time marches on.

There are some obvious points to be made in defense of people not playing older games, and some reasonable arguments I could frame against why much of gaming’s past is forgotten. I mean, the logistics of someone trying to sink so much time (100’s of hours) into what normally amounts to a casual side hobby is unreasonable, especially if you take into account that I’m a paid game writer who loves the medium, and can still only enjoy a fraction of what exists. I could also mention in regards to the Elder Scrolls series, I have personally clocked in close to a thousand hours on separate Elder Scrolls titles, and how (obviously) that becomes difficult to do five times over while maintaining any kind of non-video game playing existence…

MUST NOT SLEEP UNTIL EXPERIENCED ALL OF HISTORY

MUST NOT SLEEP UNTIL EXPERIENCED ALL OF HISTORY

So in one sense, yes….experiencing all of history is well, impossible. So, it follows why many never look to their past or history in general, as just about every one of us simply doesn’t have enough time in our modern day to day period, let alone putting aside precious moments for a fictional universe that we visit occasionally.

However, in an effort at reframing my stance in writing this article, and in acknowledgement of what Pepe has observed, the history of where we come from is important, and preserving it should remain a priority and a valuable endeavor. Furthermore, it should be tasked to someone relevant in the field to preserve it as cleanly as possible, and to make sure we recognize and celebrate those who have helped to make it happen. Pepe does put forth another old phrase “history is written by the victors”, which is an unavoidable side effect of record keeping, but in his own assessments on video game history, many of the victors don’t even bother remembering their own victories, which I feel is unique once again to video games as a medium.

Though I could end on the salient point of respecting our past and preserving history, there is plenty more to say about this topic, and a point of…well, guilt that I have not yet touched upon. See, some of my best writing (EDIT: All of my writing) comes from a hands on experience: video games are an interactive medium after all. While it’s true I was inspired to write this article after reading Felipe Pepes enlightening write up, this response article was more invoked by a sense of guilty inspiration as opposed to acting out as a finger wagging soap box. This is due to the rather comical fact that despite loving video game history, old school titles, and a regular fan of the Elder Scrolls series for well over a decade now…I actually haven’t played the first two games in the series (Arena or Daggerfall) either.

*clears throat*

Now, I know what you’re thinking

YOU'RE ALL TO BLAME THAT HISTORY HAS DIED

YOU’RE THE REASON HISTORY IS DYING

I would quickly like to use a finger of my own and say

Give Me A Minute, Here

Hold On

I apologize, and do admit fault in shaking my head at those students earlier, as I’m just as guilty as they are. Believe me, I am myself quite shocked I have failed in revisiting Arena or Daggerfall up to this point, despite their value and how much they tie into my own experience of playing, thinking, and talking about video games. I, however, like to right my wrongs, which is what this article is an attempt to do. I’m acknowledging I want to preserve history, and help maintain it’s value in reminding us where we came from, and why it still matters to this day. Having made this important realization, I resolved myself to download Arena and record my own thoughts, to enhance history and celebrate the remembrance of worthwhile video games, and the forgotten experiences they are

So, with a renewed purpose in mind, a sense of wonder in my heart, and a confidence I could contribute to gaming culture, I, Pashford Murano, set out to do something worth a damn, and went back and downloaded the first Elder Scrolls Game: Arena, to record it’s greatness, share it’s rich value, and revel in the epic journey and grand adventure Arena truly represents.

Wait...I Have To Run It In DOS?

…err

…it gets grander. Really.

(To Be Continued)

~Pashford

Leave a comment

Filed under Active Time Event

A Leaf On The Wind

Hey Gamers,

Just popping in to say hi. Though I have plenty of work to do elsewhere, I thought I would take a moment to follow up on a comment I made a few days ago. When I was pondering my write up on Mario Kart and Nintendo’s recent crowd pleasing tendencies, I realized I had made a mistake.

Elton John Cat

…it’s a long level story.

Though the failure to mention Elton John in my Mario Kart post was indeed a misstep, it is not the one I was referring to. I was speaking to a mistake that was thoughtless on my part, as it was even more forgetful for a more important reason. Let me explain…

In my last post, I stated the following:

“This makes the second December in a row I have failed to provide anything meaningful to gaming culture, and for that I apologize.”

I didn’t think this one through too carefully, as I in fact wrote something very meaningful in the month of December, it just wasn’t on Active Time Event, nor was it a very joyous occasion. I’m referring to the small dedication I wrote to Ralph H. Baer, the inventor of the home video game console who passed away on December 6th. Though he lived a long life and left us at the age of 92, it’s never easy seeing someone pass away. Considering how important he was to my life and to our culture at large, it was hard not to get emotional due to his contributions to my life. Despite being down about his death, I knew I had to say thanks in the form of a dedication, as he was an icon who left behind an extraordinary legacy that has brought me endless joy.

Ralph Baer ATEMy farewell to Mr.Baer can be found here for anyone interested, and it links to a lot of other gaming outlets that celebrated the mans passing with some very heartwarming condolences. Even though we’ve lost a very sweet man and an amazing innovator, I feel pleasant knowing I can continue to thank him every time I pick up a controller, or when I write about the joys it brings me. I started re-reading Baer’s book: Video Games: In The Beginning, which is a fantastic read for anyone who’s interested in the history of video games and the birth of a medium. Mr.Baer wrote the entire thing himself, including patents, photographs, original blueprints and documented materials that were used as the premise for the first ever video game console.

Original Design Concepts Proposing A Home Game Console

Ralph Baer’s Original Design Concepts Proposing A Home Game Console (There’s So Many Documents About It!)

 

Seen Here: Ralph Baer Making History. No Biggie.

Seen Here: Ralph Baer Making History. No Biggie.

 

The Completed Prototype

The Completed Prototype! What Glory!

In closing, I apologize for carelessly stating I wrote nothing worthwhile in December, as I may have written one of the most meaningful pieces in the history of my writing. Ralph H. Baer and in essence video games, are why I do what I do every day so happily. Their significance could never be overstated, and Baer will be greatly missed. Though I did not get to meet the man before his passing, I was lucky enough to be able to play on one of his original prototypes called “The Brown Box” at E3 this past year, which speaks volumes to the man’s importance and relevancy even to this day. Despite being in a convention center dedicated to the latest tech, the newest games, and how much promise the future held for both me and gaming, it was playing on Baer’s Brown Box that sticks with me the most.

Pictured: The First Video Game Console Prototype Ever

Pictured: The First Video Game Console Prototype Ever

 

Not Pictured: Me Freaking Out Before This Picture Was Taken Because Of Excitement

Not Pictured: Me Freaking Out Before This Picture Was Taken Because Of Ridiculous Excitement

Thank you Mr.Baer, your thoughtfulness and your care has given me a controller to cry on, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Farewell.

~Pashford

Leave a comment

Filed under Active Time Event

Drifting Along On The Winds Of Change

Hey Gamers,

As some of you may have noticed, I was woefully absent during the month of December. This makes the second December in a row I have failed to provide anything meaningful to gaming culture, and for that I apologize.

Things Don't Always Work Out As We Hope Them Too

Things Don’t Always Work Out As We Hope Them Too

I’m happy to say the circumstances that lead to my absence this December as opposed to last December were infinitely more preferred. December 2013 was most certainly a devastation, while December 2014 was absolutely a celebration, though the excessive fun having did leave me out in the creative cold.

Seen Here: Me Ringing In The New Year

Seen Here: Me Ringing In The New Year

That’s kind of like a second apology/I had fun hope you did too. I realized shortly after the new year I owed it to myself, my creative devices, and the gaming community at large to do something…anything of note, so here I am now trying to make good on my claims. I do also wish to give public thanks to everyone who helped contribute to my gofundme, which was a rousing success. It granted me the fantastic fortune of a brand new Wii U, and even Mario Kart 8 to boot (the latter of which I saved as an X-Mas present to myself). The Wii U was right in time for the release of Smash Bros, which I wrote about a couple time in the days following the games launch. The write ups were maybe…a little more dry than I intended them to be, but were rich in Vitamin E…

The E Standing For Entertainment, Of Course!

The E Standing For Entertainment, Of Course!

Err…at least as far as the pictures were concerned. They had a lot of E in them…

Tons Of Vitamin E

Tons Of Vitamin E

 

Vitamin E For Days...

Vitamin E For Days…

I am truly grateful of everyone who contributed to my gofundme, and though I have already sent each and everyone of you a personal letter of thanks, I wanted to say at least one more time….you really made a difference, and you really made me happy.

So thank you.

Falcon Gratitude 2
When I came back from my extended absence last year, I had a series of articles (which I’m quite fond of upon retrospection) looking at A Link Between Worlds and the Zelda series as a whole…something I’ve analyzed several times over. This year, I don’t have anything quite as long winded planned in my return to written reality, but I’m trying to change it up a little bit…by not talking about the Zelda series for a change! For example, would you believe me if I told you I was about to talk about a non-Zelda game?

Non *Zelda* Game

Non *Zelda* Game

Or that horses aren’t even involved?

Weeeell, technically.

Weeeell, technically.

Cheating a little bit here, but if enjoying Mario Kart is playing dirty, I don’t ever want to be clean again. While I really do want to discuss Mario Kart, in all of it’s ridiculous glory, I do reckon I should first discuss Smash U, as it would be the first time I’ve really talked about the experience on ATE as opposed to just alluding to it, which is odd now that I think about it. Smash is up there as one of my fave games to sit down with, and the new ones are no exception. I’m impressed Nintendo had the development capabilities to make both the 3DS and Wii U versions of Smash a reality in the same year, let alone within two months of each, but I suppose we should in fact thank Sora Ltd and Bandai Namco Games for being able to pull it together at just the right time.

Which Bandai Namco Don't Always Get Right

Which Bandai Namco Don’t Always Get Right

 

Like Sometimes Seriously Doesn't Get Right

Like Sometimes Seriously Doesn’t Get Right

 

Like, What The Hell, Dude? Were They Planning A Spin Off Game With These Two Idiots Called The Adventures Of Derp Face And Captain Horseshit?

Like, What The Hell, Dude? Were They Hoping To Launch A Spin Off Game With These Two Idiots Called The Adventures Of Derp Face And Captain Horseshit?

My initial write ups on Smash weren’t poppy enough, I’d say in review, which is really what Smash is: vivacious and pretty (much like the flower). We will ignore that in reality, poppies are used for the production of morphine and codeine, which ruins my comparison…unless you’re totally into that kind of thing, in which case I have no hesitation to likening Smash Brothers as gaming crack, just all around being a video game equivalent of an addictive narcotic.

An Average Example Of A Smash Player Between Matches

An Average Example Of A Smash Player Between Matches

I do in fact, wish to officially review Smash still, so I’ll keep my thoughts on the game more rapid fire and less explicit. To that point: super glad there’s an intro (3DS version lacked one), very pleased the online is functional and appealing this time around, and the balance struck between both Melee and Brawl feels just right. Even as a die hard Melee fan, I’ve surrendered to the notion that we can’t nor shouldn’t want the exact same thing for the rest of time, and Smash U feels fresh and familiar enough to have me hook line and sinker. The variety of play at hand in the new Smash was always a known known, but perhaps the levels of customization there after were an unknown unknown, with stage creation and new fan ideas for mini games being a delightful surprise.

Smashketball? But Of Course!

Smashketball? And How!

While the new Smash being good isn’t a surprise, per say, I think some of the ways that the new Smash is good, are. A consideration to competitive balancing as opposed to the denouncement of it was definitely one, cross-platform release was way more forethought than I remembered Nintendo being capable of, as well as online play actually mattering to the grand scheme of Smash longevity. And yes, while we can scratch our heads at certain elements of the execution, like no current plans for paid DLC (madness, I know), or an easy way to trade custom stages through the Wii U itself (though talks of an update have been mentioned), I still acknowledge an awareness on Nintendo’s part at paying attention to what matters most: us.

The Fans

The Fan...Err, Not Him.

Err, Not Him.

 

Yeah, Them

Yeah, Them

I say this with a certain sense of positive energy, as Nintendo hasn’t always had a healthy awareness of who really matters, as previously mentioned. Nintendo coming out and saying they want to add online functionality, including an easy way for fans to trade custom levels online means they are listening, and ultimately being more self-aware about what meaningfully relates to their games, which is good. What excites me more is that the positive momentum of Smash doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Smash U’s ambitions are just one example of Nintendo “getting it” a little more recently, another example being Mario Kart 8’s video replay system, in which Nintendo has once again showcased it’s the fans who help make the games worthwhile, and imbues them with the power to make Nintendo games more fun well after the game is released.

The Luigi Deathstare being a prime example of how developer tools (even incredibly simplistic ones) in fan hands, can help celebrate the little things about video games everyone loves so much, which is what matters at the end of the day.

Luigi Deathstare

Don’t Look At Me Like That


Okay, okay! Sorry…your death stare is anything but little, Luigi…

Just for clarity here, using Mario Kart as my current example, mindful systems with the intent of fan inclusion, is an acknowledgement on Nintendo’s part (by action at least), the company realizes one positive but big change they can make in moving forward. The Luigi Death Stare, which spawned from the replay system and through “fan creation” unintentionally helped to promote Mario Kart 8. This meme that was spawned from a 10 second clip ended up going viral and peaked so much interest about the game, it was a better advertisement for MK8 than Nintendo could have ever thought up of without the fans.

With Mario Kart 8 still in mind, you can even upload the clips to Youtube (even just aside from the mode “Mario Kart TV” in game to see what’s going on globally), which is a step forward in Nintendo using more topical technologies to acknowledge fans, and with it, a willingness to give us more control in helping to contribute to the games they make. Mario Maker is yet another example of Nintendo understanding just how important fan support, community and creation are in helping grow a healthy product, as the entire premise of Mario Maker is to make new content using an established Nintendo formula for your fellow gamers. Fan creation (and modding) have been key elements of contribution in modern day game design, a concept very successful companies in the field of video gaming adopted a long time ago.

*Cough* To Name Just One Slightly Relevant Example

*Cough* To Name Just One Slightly Relevant Example

I’m aware Nintendo has dun f***** up a lot…with the Wii U specifically, and in ways involving their own products and the community that are hard to accept as reality. In this moment, I must acknowledge that Nintendo has been imperfect in many regards, and is behind the times both technologically and conceptually in a variety of ways. However, it’s times like these I notice a willingness and effort to change, which is an excellent first step to self improvement. When I start to notice these little changes forming a bigger picture, a far more engaging bigger picture, I’m reminded while you can’t always “count” on Nintendo, they will always surprise you. This is exciting in this case, as the winds of change seem to be in Nintendo’s favor.

Let’s just hope that breeze turns into a gust and ends up being a wind storm.

Sounds Fun In Theory, Anyway

Sounds Fun In Theory, Anyway

In closing, while I’m always rowdy and raucous while playing Smash, Smash U is a part of a stable of games that represents a healthiness with it’s ambitions in relation to Nintendo’s future. A relief comes in analyzing Smash, Mario Kart etc, in that while Nintendo has shown time and time ago they know they have a community, these recent instances may be a sign they want it to be a real part of how they develop moving forward. Nintendo has shown they know how to have fun behind the wheel, but they may finally be understanding that they don’t always have to be driving for us to get somewhere good together.

Who knows? Perhaps now, like so many other developers, they realize we (the fans) know how to burn rubber too, and sometimes, having fun means throwing us the keys and saying “Let’s Go”.

Allons-Y

Clara See
11th Annoyed

~Pashford

Leave a comment

Filed under Active Time Event