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.

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.

Blizzard: Customer Service

I’ve been dealing with this all day and decided perhaps to make a few points on the status of Blizzard customer service. I’m going to try to get this out in as succinct a way as possible and still manage to make my points clear.

Overall

While I respect the ability for Blizzard Customer Services to be polite and as ‘prompt’ as possible given their ability ((I realise there are a crazy butt-ton of people who play this game, so the numbers of petitions and the like must be through the roof, but yeah)), I’m not sure I’m at all happy with how things have been going as late. Calling the phone-line is pretty much a bust, as if you do get through you still have hours to wait until you get an actual person and not just a customary “we’ll get to you soon” type of response, and the tickets are only answered between certain hours, which means if you ticket comes in late in the day, you’re kind of boned because they do it (supposedly) by when they were put in.

I’d love to say amazing things about the Blizzard Customer Service department, but I can’t, I really can’t say much– they are highly polite, but overall we’re talking a major lack.

Payment Options

Oh yes, forget asking Blizzard to offer more payment options for things– you can pay for your account up-time with paypal, but you cannot pay for Character Faction Changes or any other Character Service with anything but a credit card– they used to encourage you to use the Paypal plugin to do it if all you had was access to was PP, but PayPal has since discontinued their plugin ((dumbest move ever, it was the only reason I was ever going to have to verify my account, and it’s also a shifty move to encourage people to sign up for their debit and credit– but that’s a rant for another time))… which leaves you /very little else/ to do but hope you have some good friends or someone willing to spot you a credit card if you transfer them the money.

This is what I did on Friday. I had some money I’d made from blogging right here at bated-breath.net and decided to cash in and get my Faction Change on, only I had to wait for the money to clear the bank into the credit card in question, and then try to use it– it finally clears today and I dive right in to try and actually get my shit taken care of, and maintenance is going on– that’s fine, you know, it’s Tuesday, it’s always going on on Tuesdays… usually not until like 5pm which is only a few hours before the end of their ‘work day’ at Customer service, but whatever. They got it all back up and I go to do it all and it’s denied. The man uses this card to pay for his goddamn account and buy pizza out several times a week and yet somehow here I am unable to give Blizzard my money for something I’ve been waiting five days for. Now I kind of just want to do it out of spite and because the money’s already allocated for it– right now I’m so pissed at Blizzard actually devoting time to the game seems moot.

Service?

Let’s talk about service– service, when you’re making as much money as a company such as Blizzard would make– seems like it should be number one. I realise it takes time and resources to accommodate new employees and new systems and all that jazz in, but come on, this isn’t a wholly new issue for Blizzard… they’ve had months of these complaints, if not years, and we’re still chomping at the bit for a better system. How is it that this kind of thing continues to happen when they’re raking in billions of dollars? Why is it so hard for me to get them to take my damn money?

Haven’t even had a response on the forum post I made in their specific Customer Service forum just yet– interesting. Interesting. Other posts are getting answered, yet while mine was detailed with the exact issue and everything I’d done, posts like “WTF IS UP WITU GUYZ” are getting answered and I’m not. Service my ass.

—–
I realise this turned into more of a rant on a few points than anything actually even verging on actual content, but I can’t help but think that venting helps everyone– maybe that’s what Blizzard needs, for their employees to whack each other around with Whiffle bats for a few hours and get out their pent up bullshit so they can work for an extra few hours– or, oh, oh! I know! Hire another shift of workers! Criminy christ, that’d be awesome, wouldn’t it? Yeah, then I could get my shit done. Shifty ass game.

… /end-rant

Wenk Wenk