King’s Quest 2015

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© Sierra & The Odd Gentleman

There’s something to be said about a game that — within the first 30 minutes of play even, depending on your choices — totally destroys your heart and makes you both attached to, and subsequently mourning a character that you were meant to be predisposed to kind of dislike.

With branching paths but some points being linear, King’s Quest (2015) has already made me overtly in love with one of its characters and ripped it away from me in the same breath, and it causes you to think back on the opening sequence, the first taste of the game play and story, and truly realise just how inevitable it all was.

As linear as a game like King’s Quest can be, the overall pathing is up to you, and in the end you can branch off into several sort of ‘paths’ that will — I’m sure — affect the outcome of future events in the upcoming released chapters.  While they all have merits, I think in the end it’s ultimately determined by what you want to present your King Graham as in the end, and that’s kind of lovely.

The most wonderful part of the game is really how the characters are developed, and how they’re presented as whole people who you only see the briefest glimpse of at first.  You perform snap judgments and create opinions based on half-information as most people do in real life as well, and through plotting out all of this story you find out the reason for their reactions and comments are fairly… normal.  They’re people with hopes and dreams and missteps, and in one case… they leave you with a hole in your — and Graham’s — heart, questioning everything you’ve done in the game up until that point.

The game itself is fairly short, but given that it’s the first chapter in a series of five, it’s to be expected.  What it gives you in that short time — a handful of hours if you’re playing it with a knowledge of ‘puzzling’ and how stories generally progress — is something so utterly and completely lovely that… for the first time in years, I’m chomping at the bit for the next Chapter and hoping it lives up to its predecessor.

King’s Quest 2015 is well worth its meager price tag of 9.99$ and the additional cost of the season pass, as well.  It’s not felt in the same vein as other games that have been released ‘half-finished’ with costly DLCs to ‘add to the experience’ which ultimately leave you feeling cheated and somewhat used, it feels like a teasing taste of something wonderful that hopefully doesn’t slowly go the way of the buffalo in its second and sequential chapters after.

Overall, it has been one of the most enjoyable playing experiences I’ve had in a while, and I might make a more spoiler full review later.

You can find more information and the various ways to purchase it at Sierra’s King’s Quest site.

Always a Feminist Issue

Ezrik shared something with me, which was… both hilarious and upsetting.  We have this sort of mutual friend — though I don’t talk to him much, if at all in the last year, and who annoys me — who I’ll just call Pandaman for the sake of things, and he was upset that some game on Steam was tagged with ‘female protagonist.’

Pandman:…So, just saw a game on Steam tagged with “Female Protagonist.” Fucking sexist women, labeling that game. (Ezrik asks how it’s sexist) Focusing on her gender.  That doesn’t make the game any different just cause the protagonist is a woman. Puts undue amount of attention on gender when there’s no need. Now I gotta go and label all the games with guys as protagonist as “Male Protagonist”, since apparently that matters.

Direct quotes from the conversation, though with mere indicators of Ezrik’s replies.

I think the funniest part is how he seems to think because games aren’t labeled male protagonist it means that they’re not being represented — or less that and more that he feels pointing out females means we’re trying to make them more important…. which is true, we are.  We’re trying to make it so that females can be more predominant in roles in games; hell, if we could get so far as labeling all forms of representation it’d let people find games in which they feel they could have some investment.

But no, Pandaman thinks that women wanting to have a bit of representation is somehow sexist because men don’t label their games ‘male protagonist‘.  He doesn’t seem to realise that you don’t HAVE to label games that way as the majority of games are featuring a male lead.  Hell, even in the Zelda series (in which the titular character isn’t even the protagonist) it’s pretty much a Link game instead, hence all the ‘Zelda’s a cool dude’ meme jokes.

In his attempt to call something sexist though, he also made a sexist assumption that women were the ones labeling it as female protagonist, because no male could ever care that a female was a lead in a game because men are dudes and dudes are bros and fuck feminism /tips fedora.

Ezrik has grown a lot since I first met him and made the points I would, before the conversation got stupid and he just let the point go, it was as follows:

Ezrik: They specifically label female protagonists because in 85% of games, it’s men who are the ‘hero’ of the story. And females are mainly used as a sort of sex symbol, or some kind of prize to be won.
Ezrik: And not everybody wants to play that kind of stuff.
Pandaman: …That doesn’t make it any less of a sexist issue. If you really want equality, you can’t go making either gender singled out or made special.
Ezrik: If gender equality were an actual thing, then they wouldn’t have to label it.
Pandman: But by labeling it, they are furthering the issue.

If you really want equality, you can’t go making either gender singled out or made special.”  Well, exactly, I couldn’t have said it better myself, but as the role in games (even with the current influx if some female fronted games it’s still the vast minority) is predominantly male, they are represented far harder than the female demographic.  If you break that down further, even in most female fronted games they’re straight white women, or gay white women, and therefor STILL not even coming close to breaking the issues we have with representation.

But with every guy who thinks that ‘meninist‘ is a thing, or that feminism is about misandry — the two are mutually exclusive, by the way — we fall five steps back from people feeling comfortable about these things.

This isn’t to say that everything made by a female or a minority is inherently good because of that, but it does mean that they shouldn’t be immediately shunted into the trash chute because someone doesn’t feel comfortable that they’re trying to have their voice heard.  How dare those radical feminists label their games female protagonist so other girls in games can put themselves in the shoes of someone they want to, if that’s their comfort.  By that logic no games should have any labels or marketing period because you’re bringing too much of the ‘issue’ to the forefront.

One last gem, I promise.

Pandaman: It’s kinda like how Taylor Swift has haters, and by making a song saying she doesn’t care, she earned MORE haters.

It wasn’t about getting the haters to leave her alone, that’ll never happen, it’s about trying to teach girls that you can stand up for yourself, have these feelings and issues, and if haters exist… let them.  Let them sit on their cushions and rage at you for being you, but have the guts to stand up for yourself and be unapologetic about your voice; let yourself be heard and don’t let the haters stop you.

Bring it on, haters, equality is something worth getting shit on for.

P.S. In editing/formatting this I noticed that originally I typed Male Protagonist, yet always typed female protagonist.  It’s a weird little note but it’s sort of indicative of the deeply ingrained issues that come from shit like this.

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90s JRPG problems

© Konami

I’m just going to leave this here as a reminder that they redid the cover for Suikoden for the US release and I picked it up based on that horrifying cover that is really not indicative of how good it is.  I don’t know why the left wasn’t good enough, but eeeeeeh.

Legally Grey

Preface: This is in no way considered legal advice or even condoning anyone else doing these things, merely an opinion of one gamer on the ludicrous nature of how legality plays into these things.

There’s something to be said for things that are technically considered illegal but… shouldn’t be?

Emulation to me makes sense for games that are no longer in production, but as far as I’m aware of there is a legal line there that’s crossed when you go for it.  The problem is, some of the games I want to emulate I sure as hell own they just aren’t within arm’s reach right now and it makes it difficult to play the proper copy.

My biggest issue with the huffing about emulation is that most people who are going for emulation aren’t doing it for new games that are sitting on shelves in droves, but for games that don’t exist anymore or would cost a fortune from some private collector in which the dev’s would never see a penny for anyway.

Not to mention that, sometimes, filling the gaps you have had in a series will inspire you to pay money for new titles within that series coming out — such as me with the Tales games — and can sometimes inspire players who never got to futz with them before to fall in love with and end up building a collection of games and official merchandise around.

I do pay for games — and I really do, and have an active subscription at a rental service which also is fairly legal — but sometimes it’s impossible to find the games you want because of them being dated or the systems themselves being dated, and the idea that you don’t want people experiencing these masterpieces because you’re afraid you’ll miss out on some dough is ridiculous. The worst part being that most of the time it’s not even the developers causing these issues but the companies and resources they went through to get their game to the public.

That being said, if you do end up pulling some emulation out of your arse and end up enjoying it, do try to buy some merchandise or the game itself, for the sake of the company continuing to make games, and in the case of failed series/halted series or companies that no longer exist… write a review and let ’em know what they did do was appreciated.  Even if it’s just a little something.

… I want more Suikoden games.

Gaming & Things I’ve Missed

I finally returned Persona Q since I hadn’t touched it in months and it was just costing me 16 bucks a month to just sort of have it there in case I got the urge.  It’s not that I didn’t like it, but in the end it felt sort of very boxed in and I got bored with the grind.  That being said, I will always love a game that lets me draw my own map (I’m looking at you Etrian.)

That being said, most of the games I’m getting from GameFly aren’t even for my PS4 (which my dad got me for Christmas and is a lovely thing but lesbionest the amount of suitable RPGs that won’t make me hurk from simulation sickness are slim.) Right now, I’m waiting for Majora’s Mask to show up, which leads me to a confession…

While I’ve been gaming for like… 25 years or some shit like that, there were dark periods in my gaming education in which I couldn’t afford a new system or game and fell behind on what was considered tops at the time.

I never played Majora’s Mask before this.

And that goes for most of the Zelda games in that general era.  Not for lack of desire or anything like that, but simply because I didn’t have the system or couldn’t afford them.

Some games never got to fall by the wayside because of my obsession — Suikoden chief among them, which any of you who actually know me is one of my favourite series ever — but Zelda, the Tales series, and things like that have spotty positions in my history.

I realise it’s a bit taboo (and possibly illegal — shit ) to talk about emulation, but I have managed to get Dolphin to work and emulate Tales of Symphonia, which I never played when it was new, but am enjoying playing now… but it makes me feel sort of embarrassed.

I have, in the past, given shit to people who try to give me shit for being a ‘girl gamer’ — a distinction I’m not happy with anyway because my tits have nothing to do with gaming — and try to question my status, as it were.  I understand there are these splotchy periods for everyone, but if you’re calling me an attention whore who doesn’t really know games when that’s not really the truth… I might get a bit cunty at you and that’s just how it is; it’s not you, it’s me, really.

But in all seriousness, the things I’ve missed have always been a sort of annoyance for me, because I do want to play these things an experience them… now that they’re doing the remakes for the 3DS it’s becoming easier for me, and if I could get a NEW 3DS and play those, it’d be even better… but they come in stages.  I’m lucky to have what I have and am not going to start getting overtly greedy.

So as it stands, yes, I haven’t played the majority of the newer Zelda games, but I’m sort of working on and am eager to actually have something to say about them, whether positive or not.

Majora’s Mask should be here tomorrow, mail willing.