Mark's 2012 Year in Review, Part Two: Totally Not Weekly (okay now it's weekly)

Okay, in my defense, Mark of the Ninja is really, really good.

This delay brought to you by Ultimate Follower Overhaul, Better Vampires, and finally just hacking my way through Dawnguard's broken Vampire Lord quest.

This delay brought to you by Ultimate Follower Overhaul, Better Vampires, and finally just hacking my way through Dawnguard's broken Vampire Lord quest.

.... also skyrim.  That’s less defensible.  Anyway, into Spring!


April

Giant Bomb is acquired by CBS Interactive, which is a good thing as it kept the best (non beard-related) video game website in the business operational, and also prevented Jeff Gertsmann from being forced to find a real job.  Although the prospects of that would no doubt be hilarious, it’d probably end with Jeff settling for work as a janitor at a local JC Penny’s and his 4Loco ravaged corpse turning up in an abandoned warehouse shortly after.  

Actually this happened in March, I just forgot and realized that this should really be on the list somewhere.  Meanwhile the 8-4 Play podcast did get absorbed into Giant Bomb during this month.  If you’re reading this, and ever meet me in person, remind me to do my 8-4 Play podcast impersonation for you.  It involves finding a Japanese woman, asking her a question, and then braying like a jackass when she’s four words in.  I’m told it’s eerily accurate.

VIDEOGAMES YOU SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT IN APRIL 2012 BUT DIDN’T

Xenoblade Chronicles:  Gonna just admit it:  April was kinda a bad month and I’m just mentioning Xenoblade to up my hardcore gamer cred.  Everyone bought The Walking Dead anyway and that’s all you needed to worry about.

VIDEOGAMES YOU BOUGHT IN APRIL 2012 INSTEAD BECAUSE YOU’RE A HORRIBLE PERSON

Turns out if you let the FCG design a game, that game will be full of half naked girls, incomprehensible to outsiders, and tedious to watch.  Who'd have thought!

Turns out if you let the FCG design a game, that game will be full of half naked girls, incomprehensible to outsiders, and tedious to watch.  Who'd have thought!

Skullgirls.  You are now reminded that 1:  Skullgirls existed 2: It actually came out less than a year ago and 3:  Skullgirls is present on at least one of your hard drives.



May

I broke my kneecap for (hopefully) the final time on the last day of April, so May gets the blame for most of this.  I spent most of the next two weeks in a drug-induced haze while contemplating the awful, awful things medical science was about to do to my left knee joint.  I’d say that this was the most traumatizing event to happen during the Spring, but Prometheus came out.

Prometheus:  I know there exists Prometheus defenders, much like defenders for the Confederate States of America still exist, as well as people who unironically enjoy liquorish.  It only serves to prove that there exists nothing in the universe awful enough not to find at least one supporter doggedly waving the iconoclast flag.  To this person or persons, I ask you but one thing.

Explain Fifield.

You're reading this right now and wondering why Sweedish Guy from Mercenaries/Mercenaries 2 isn't in more stuff.  

You're reading this right now and wondering why Sweedish Guy from Mercenaries/Mercenaries 2 isn't in more stuff.  

Remember this guy?  Yeah, because apparently Ridley Scott didn’t.

*first introduces himself as a battle-hardened mercenary working for Weyland

*Actually turns out he’s the team geologist

*Then he’s in charge of the little droid guys that map the alien temple

*Freaks out upon seeing the dead alien, running away in a panic (thus belying his hard-bitten mercenary origins)

*Is promptly hopelessly lost despite being the guy in charge of the mapping drones

*Gives up, returns back to the dead alien to get stoned

*Is swiftly killed by some sort of alien tar goop

*His body is found by the recon team some time later QUITE CLEARLY FUCKING DEAD

*returns to the landing craft a half hour later as some sort of mutated alien goop thing, killing several redshirts before being set on fire and promptly forgotten about

Did you catch that?  The dude switched personalities and motivations at least four times in the span of two hours.  He had more face/heel turns than DX-Era Chyna.

Remember what I was saying the last update about the creators of a sci-fi property not caring nearly as much about their creation as the actual fans?  Well it happened here.

I’m not a film major.  I’m not even a game major.  I just know what I see as a fan, and as someone who lets himself become emotionally invested in fictional universes it seems like a Universe has maybe two, three great stories in it before that universe start falling apart.  To wit:

Star Wars:  A New Hope/Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi/Complete Crap.  And you know, I honestly think Jedi is fondly remembered mainly due to momentum.  If Lucas tried that Ewok crap in today’s cynical internet environment it would have been roundly trounced.  In retrospect it’s easy to see why ESB was the masterpiece of that series.

The Matrix:  Matrix/Matrix Reloaded/Complete Crap.  I’m one of those sick individuals who actually enjoys everything about Reloaded and would actually watch it over the original Matrix movie given the chance.  But it sure does seem like the Wachowskis lifted one good story from Grant Morrison with the Matrix, spent the next couple years coming up with one more great movie in Reloaded, and then completely ran out of ideas for Revolutions and had no clue how to end the series.

Alien/Aliens/Alien 3/Complete Crap. See Above

Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2/Mass Effect 3 acts 1/2/Complete Crap:  If you ignore the parts where Mass Effect 3 was incredibly lazy, the story and universe itself held together reasonably well through the first two thirds of the third game, provided you ignore the part where the Reapers spent a year minorly inconveniencing the populace of Earth.  Mass Effect may actually be salvageable but there’s no way EA is interested in making the game necessary to rebuild anyone’s faith on what was once one of the best modern sci-fi universes created.

The First Three Books of The Wheel of Time Saga/Everything Else:  You have not known betrayal until you realized you paid thirty dollars to read about three small-town gossips talk about a nice looking bowl and prattle and sniff about their love lives.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel/Dollhouse:  Now I’m just being petty

Star Fox/Star Fox 64/Complete Crap:  Okay I’ll stop

VIDEOGAMES YOU SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT IN MAY 2012 BUT DIDN’T:

Starhawk:  C’mon, guys!  LightBox tried really hard!  Now they’re stuck making iPhone games!

VIDEOGAMES YOU BOUGHT IN MAY 2012 INSTEAD BECAUSE YOU’RE A HORRIBLE PERSON

Minecraft XBLA:  It is plausible that you are reading this article on a device incapable of running Minecraft, but it would require a confluence of events either involving a time machine or being trapped inside a North Korean missile launch operations center, or possibly both.  The rest of you have no excuse for buying the XBLA version of Minecraft over any other version available to you, and yet 15 million of you did.


June

Remember video game magazines?

Okay, go back a little further.  Remember magazines?  There were vast racks of them to be found at your local bookstore-- A “local bookstore” being how we used to get hold of our books before Amazon opened up.  Anyway, a recurring theme found those old.  Often this lament was targeted to lonely gamers who could not find that elusive “gamer girl” or boyfriends who were stymied as to why their significant others weren’t into 12 hour long Halo marathons as much as they were and wanted suggestions as to how to turn their girlfriends into gamers.

Turns out women were actually playing videogames this entire time, they just never really made a big deal of it, no more than a normal person would identify themselves as a “Movie enthusiast” if they watched movies or a “Book enthusiast” if they read books.  Games are a part of culture, and have been since the 70’s.  Ladies have been a part of culture since way before the 70’s.  Hence, ladies play videogames, and have been doing so for a long, long time.  

Enter Anita Sarkeesian, a lady who plays videogames and, as many ladies in her position, is quite fed up with the deplorable way women are portrayed in videogames-- usually as trophies or decoration, almost always hyper-sexualized, and rarely as competent as her male counterparts.  

So she started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to buy up a ton of videogames, dissect the way women are portrayed across the gaming spectrum, and then release a web series explaining her concerns to developers and the male gaming community.

The male gaming community reacted pretty much exactly as you’d expect

tropes.png

Anita’s kickstarter was eventually successful-- wildly so, and the series is currently in production.  But the entire affair varied between regrettable to revolting and served to highlight that the main issue women face in gaming isn’t so much the industry itself-- but the community that industry is forced to sell games to.  

At least one good thing will come out of this whole mess-- aside from the Tropes vs Women in Video Games web series, I mean-- Anita is now in possession of a kick-ass video game collection

anita.jpg

...ah fuck she found Ninja Gaiden 2.  We’re not living that down.

VIDEOGAMES YOU SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT IN JUNE 2012 BUT DIDN’T:

Spec Ops:  The Line.  Somehow the industry that brought you the hidden Avenge Sevenfold concert at the end of BLOPS 2 also did a shockingly effective rendition of Apocalypse Now wrapped inside of a decent-to-good 3rd person shooter.  I would also like to take this moment to say to future generations that the storyline in Homeland was simply not our fault.

VIDEOGAMES YOU BOUGHT IN JUNE 2012 INSTEAD BECAUSE YOU’RE A HORRIBLE PERSON

Lollipop Chainsaw:  Look it’s going to be hard enough explaining Itagaki to our daughters.  Let's stop encouraging Suda.

NEXT WEEK:  PART 3: THE SUMMER BREAKS!  DOCTORS BREAK MY KNEE!  STEAM SUMMER SALES BREAKS WALLETS! CASTLE CRASHERS PC BREAKS XBLA!