Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

10 Things Video Games Need to Fix

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

this entry brought to you by portishead, "sour times"

The next generation of video game consoles is coming out, in the form of the Playstation 4, and the Xbox One (which is a stupid name), and with it, a whole bunch of pretty graphics and crazy amounts of things going on the screen at the same time seamlessly melding with game play. Which is great, and I'm looking forward to it. And since we are now in a transition period, now is the perfect time to address a few annoyances about video games that need to go away.

All games need to have 100% customizable controls, always Listen, I don't care if it absolutely does not make sense for a controller to be set up the way I'm trying to set up, I don't care if the default setup is 100% designed to perfectly match the game, I don't care. All buttons on the controller need to be customizable. And yes, most games have some way of customizing controls, but I'm sick of having a variety of options, none of which fit exactly what I'm trying to do. I don't care if I'm playing a driving game and I want to switch the accelerate from the right trigger to the A button or swap what the control sticks do. Even if it means a little message pops up that says "It is highly recommended you do not play the game with the setup you are using," I do not care. Let me set up my controller the way I want it.

Can I please have a reliable playtime counter? This might be just me, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when I load up a game and wonder curiously, how long have I been playing this thing? Only to find that there is absolutely no way to tell. Sure, ultimately it doesn't matter. And you could argue that having to know at all times how long I've been enjoying a game is anal retentive. Whatever. Can I please just have a timer to tell how long I've been playing? And by the way, when you do that-- and I demand that you do-- no, it doesn't count if the game is paused. I have kids. Sometimes my game will remain paused for two hours at a time before I can return to it. If it's a very tactical game where I would, through ordinary play, spend lots of times in menus, then how about an "idle" timer that stops counting my play time if I haven't touched my controller in five minutes? I don't see why in a game you wouldn't want this information.

I need to be able to pause cut scenes This isn't a huge problem any more. A lot of game designers have figured out that gamers will sometimes have life occur, and some of us actually want to watch those beautifully rendered cut scenes you spent so much time crafting. For a while there games wouldn't allow you to even skip cut scenes, so if you died just after five minutes of blah-blah-blahing, you had to live through that over and over again until you beat whatever was the problem. But not being able to pause it still happens. Just three days ago I was playing a game, came to a cut scene, heard my daughter crying, and found that I was only able to skip, but not pause. I had to reload my save not because I died, but because I had absolutely no clue what was going on when I got back. Please. Skip cut scenes is great, pause cut scenes, I would argue, is even greater.

If it's a game where you can customize your character, there must be more hair choices for black people. There must I would honestly say lack of hair variety is a problem in general-- if you've got only a dozen options to choose from in your epic RPG where part of the whole point is the gratification of seeing something uniquely of your choosing doing awesome shit, then you've got a problem. But this goes super duper double if you're trying to make a black person. There's always dreads. And always an afro, which, depending on the tone of your game, is either idiotic, or so-funny-I-forgot-to-laugh. And then there's giving your black person a white person haircut and saying to yourself that they got it straightened. Please, this shouldn't be so difficult.

NO MORE SILENT PROTAGONISTS I understood the theory in making your character silent, particularly in first person games-- the second a character speaks, it breaks the immersion that the character is not the player. I get that. In theory. But in practice, I could not feel like the blank-slate silent protagonist is further from me. The moment someone talks to me and I do not respond breaks the immersion. A character tells me to go do something, and I'm left wondering, exactly why am I doing this? A character that could talk might be able to say, "Man, I really don't want to do that, but if I don't, this person won't trust me, and I'll be one step harder to saving my daughter from the zombie queen." The silent protagonist just goes and does it because, well, it's a video game and what else am I supposed to do. Main supporting characters inexplicably fall in love with my dullard of a hero, despite his inability to do anything but shoot things and jump. I absolutely cannot stand playing the game as the silent hero, even in games that make fun of the fact that you're a silent hero. The only exceptions should be characters who are preexisting as being silent. I wouldn't want Chell to suddenly start talking, or for Link to have an attitude. But if you're introducing a new character to the world, no matter what the perspective of the game, he'd or she had better fucking talk.

This one is Specific to Nintendo: FULL VOICE WORK Listen, maybe I shouldn't be suggesting this right now, with you guys doing so poorly lately with sales. And you might be thinking, people will play the next Zelda or the next Mario no matter what, so why spend unnecessary money? Because it's 2013. Yes, Mario says "It's a Me!". And Link emotes all the time. The problem is, everyone in the universe is the exact same, and we're stuck reading the bulk of text like it's 1993. Look, none of your games have tons and tons of dialogue, so would it be so much to ask that what little dialogue there is actually be fully voiced? As mentioned above, Link and Samus shouldn't talk (*cough* Metroid: Other M *cough*), but why does everyone they interact with just gasp and sigh and coo?

Fighting Games, could you give me a little more single player? Please? Yes, the year is 2013, we're all on-line, and a battle with another live, breathing person is just a button click away. Except that playing an on-line fighting game is like playing chess-- if you're not good, you have no interest in playing with people. If you have an interest in playing with people, you're probably pretty fucking good. Developers seem to think that now that we can all just go on-line that they don't have to do anything else but a generic arcade mode. I'd like to play fighting games but I don't have the time to sit down and get as good as I was when I was 16. Can you give me something else to do when I just want to pop my arcade stick in for 20 minutes?

If there's optional love interests in the game, there must always be a gay choice. Always Listen, if I'm playing a game where I can choose my character's gender, I always pick female. If there are optional love interests, I always pick the lesbian love interest. But you'd be surprised how often a game allows a lesbian love interest but does not allow a gay male love interest. This isn't fair.

All On-line Shooters Must Have a Female Avatar you can choose This is especially true of military shooters. For some reason when you hop on-line-- and it's not difficult to find girl gamers shooting you down in Call of Duty-- there are no ways to play a female character. The truth is, if I were a girl, I wouldn't want to play as a female character because of the undue attention it would get, but I'm a dude and I always play girls and what the fuck.

PC Gaming must allow me to tweak graphics settings without restarting Listen, I have a computer that plays every single game I have ever tried to play on it, even brand new games bought day one (Bioshock Infinite being the most recent example). But my PC is a laptop, and is not a beast of a laptop, so I have to tweak things. Which is fine, but I'm not a real PC gaming enthusiast, and nothing is more annoying than starting off a game that decides that all the graphic options need to be maxed out, having to start tweaking settings (that are often inscrutable), and the game wants to restart when you're done. To make matters worse, you will often have to see opening cinematic multiple times in various speeds of slide show, quitting the game, tweaking, then going back in. If graphics settings tweaks force a boot to the desktop, this is excruciating.

with love from CRS @ 9:16 AM 


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