Tutorials and Sheikah Stones: Accessibility in Zelda. 60 in 60 day 4

A quick note before we begin:

I wrote a good chunk of this article yesterday, when it was supposed to go up, but life intervened from getting it up on time. This means that I owe an extra article. Currently, I spend 45 hours per week at my retail job, and my random scheduling led to an 8 day stretch, which I have just come off. Spending time with friends is part of how I unwind. Occasionally in this 60 days, I may be late an article, but it will still be made up for by all the extra articles I have planned.

Like many in my generation, I grew up on unforgiving games that were difficult to get in to. Mine was a Nintendo household, and until I was 5, all we had was our trusty NES. I was blowing into cartridges before I can remember being taught to. It wasn’t until I was 9 that I finally beat a game for the first time: “Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past”. This was a game where I still had to learn to do a lot of things, but doing so was engaging in a way I had never before experienced. While the game was not nearly as hard as the original entry in the series (which I never properly beat until I was into my 20s), but the real change was that I could understand the mechanics. From the time you wake up in your bed, until you rescue Zelda from the dungeon, you are essentially in a tutorial level. The game never calls it a tutorial, and you can skip talking to the guards and miss it, but mechanics are introduced, and in the very next room after you get the sword from your dying uncle, you encounter two of the easiest enemies in the game. This allows you to test out the new sword you got, and the design of this room also introduces four different concepts immediately to the player. When you enter the room, the exit is visible, but a hallway stretches off to the right, drawing the player’s attention. This introduces exploration to the player, checking every room for secrets. In this hallway lie the aforementioned enemies. When you move right, the screen scrolls, communicating to audiences at the time that the screen scrolled, so entire rooms no longer had to fit on a single screen. After defeating the enemies in the hallway, you find a treasure chest, two pots containing magic potion, and a torch. If you missed the lantern in the chest in your house, it will be here (along with every other treasure chest, otherwise it contains 5 rupees). This lets the player experiment with the lantern in an easy environment. The player then leaves the room to storm the castle. I could write a whole series of articles on this, and that’s the intent, but the point is that the game subtly communicated it’s mechanics to the player, making them better able to understand the rest of the game. These minimalist, subtle tutorials were something that Nintendo excelled at during the SNES generation. “Super Metroid”‘s intro (including cutscenes) and the first island in “Super Mario World” are also stellar examples of this at work. This move was designed from the ground up to make Nintendo’s franchises more accessible to a newer, more widespread audience.

Another frankly excellent example of this comes from a more recent Zelda game: “Ocarina of Time 3D”. The remaster added Sheikah Stones, there to offer hints to those players who were truly stuck, and dialed back the difficulty of the infamous Water Temple. While a very vocal minority threw tantrums about the changes, they made this famous game of theirs fresh and new for an audience that might have never experienced them in their original version, allowing a new generation to fall in love with that particular classic. The backlash against changes such as these is frequently decried as “dumbing down” by the histrionic, so-called “hardcore gamer” cretins that inhabit the internet is predictable and almost always as insane as it is inane. A reduction in difficulty, tutorial levels, clearing up confusion about mechanics, these are all very powerful tools a developer can use to let as many people as possible experience their work. Even games designed to be hard often feature some, or even all, of these tools, as well as countless others to fine tune the accessibility of their title. When these same lunatics scream and cry when games aren’t considered art by some critic or pundit from other media, the lack of general, basic accessibility is the reason. It is good for everybody, the audience, the general public, even the “hardcore” crowd, that games be made accessible to as many people as possible, as this leads to greater acceptance of gaming as a tool for communicating more complex ideas. That’s how something is considered by the general public to be an artistic medium. While challenge is an important thing to retain, it has to be be introduced bit by bit, to keep the player engaged as the challenge ramps up. 

Come back next time, where we will talk in depth about why the original “Dark Souls” is an exemplar of all of this, all while convincing the player it isn’t.

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Old games, new price tags. 60 in 60 day 2.

Before feature films were shot digitally, the finished film was stored on an ultra-high quality reel called the “Master”, from which quality could be reduced and content cropped for individual copies made of it. When a film was remastered, the master reel was taken from storage and a new copy was made, either to add content not in the original release copy, or take advantage of advances in fidelity and allow more quality. With the current generation of consoles, we are currently seeing a flood of older titles being remastered. While there are quite a few reasons for businesses to pursue this, and the fans of the series get hyped, is there really any benefit to the larger gaming audience from this practice, or is it simply a way for studios to resell new copies of old games?

From a business perspective, remastering the right titles can be a no-brainer. The games have to be well remembered, easy to update, not available on the current console, and ideally have a devoted fanbase. If these all apply, it would be foolish for a publisher not to try this. They already paid for the bulk of the game, so from their perspective they can farm it out to a cheaper studio, have them update the graphics and textures, and fix whatever code broke while they were doing that. Furthermore, when the publisher announces the remaster to the public, they typically gain a great deal of goodwill and support from long time fans, who may have missed playing their favorite games on their current console. The remaster is typically, but not always, bundled with all additional content and sold at a bit of a price hike from the devalued original. While this is all good in theory, the final product is often far more hit or miss. These projects are often given to studios that lack either the resources, talent, and/or time to do justice to the original, leading to lackluster, disappointing products. The “Silent Hill HD Collection” is a perfect example of this process gone horribly wrong. Even discounting everything else, the simple removal of the fog to compensate for the PS1’s draw distance destroyed the atmosphere the game worked so hard to create when it was new. Even if everything is mostly as it was, though, publishers can still find a way to destroy the goodwill a move like this is designed to foster. The recent remaster of “Bulletstorm” released at full price, as well as having a partnership with N4G drove fans of the original into a frenzy, beyond the power of adding Duke Nukem for no reason. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered” is a completely different story. Initially, it was only available as a bundle with “Infinite Warfare”, a game with a current Metacritic user score of 3.5, a move which reeked of desperation on Activision’s part. After release, crafting and microtransaction systems were added, adding to the backlash against this release. Finally, Map packs and DLC are being sold for the game for more than they cost for the original release. Now, many of you may be thinking that the practice of remastering has no positive benefit for the consumer, but that’s where we would have to disagree.

The game industry has some serious problems, that’s where this site gets it’s name, however, blanketly saying that certain practices have to be stopped immediately is not always the answer. The simple fact is that many times, these remasters, while they may be ancient to many of us, are introducing games to an audience that may have never experienced them when they were initially released, either because of financial constraints at the time of initial release, or because they were too young the first time around. How many times have gamers on forums and other websites that foster discussion have older gamers bemoaned the fact that the younger generations “never experienced the classics”. Remasterings, done well, are a perfect answer to that problem. They take a game that was popular, or even just critically acclaimed, and reintroduce it to a fresh audience who will then gain an appreciation for the titles. A lot of gamers might argue that they could just buy the older versions, on the older consoles. The problem with this is not everyone has the multiple hundreds of dollars to blow just to experience an older title sight unseen. For these people, no matter how good a game is, they will probably never experience it. At least with quality remasters, they can play the game and have the original experience, with some tweaks to difficulty or mechanics. This allows these gamers to participate meaningfully in discussions about the titles, adding to the gaming public just like that. So, what does this mean in the long run? 

Simply put, remasters, as a concept, at least, are a great idea for both the industry and the public. The game industry gets to make more money on a title for little investment, compared to creating a brand-new IP, and whole swaths of the public get to fill holes in their lists of games they missed. The problem lies in quality and greed. The companies remastering these games need to put as much care and love into them as they did when the game was being developed, and that means respecting the original intents and market the game was released to. This does mean don’t add too much, and what is added can’t just be there for no reason other than to make the publisher more money. These games are often touchstones in gaming history, and need to be treated with respect. Many remasters are done with this in mind. For all the backlash about the “Ocarina of Time 3D” release, it really is an example of how to do this correctly. Gently update the game, and make it more accessible to new audiences playing it for the first time. 

 

Article 2/60

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Is it a bad thing for a game to just end? 60 in 60 Day 1.

Somewhat recently, when watching an Extra Credits video about what they term “Lifestyle Games (link: here), a thought struck me. The narrator, Dan, used the phrase (out of context) “… the game just ends”, and though he was talking about a type of game that rewards long term players, it brought to mind something I have heard several times over the past several years while following the game industry. The go-to quote for this is from the E3 2012 EA press conference when the CEO at the time John Riccitello said the phrase “A few years ago, the game you bought was the game you got”. He was justifying his company’s love of DLC, and said it negatively, but this has always sat oddly in my mind. I am old enough to remember gaming before games could connect to the internet, and he’s absolutely right. At that time, the game that shipped, at least for consoles, had to be bug free, and a complete experience. The moment consoles introduced stable internet connectivity, DLC began creeping into games, with many gamers accepting and enjoying the idea that a few extra dollars could add so much to their experience. Once this took hold, it started becoming more audacious, holding parts of the game that many agreed should have been included in the game to ransom. This turned some off of the concept of DLC (myself included, in the interest of disclosure), however, many still kept paying, even defending the company’s practice as unimpeachable. While there have been many examples of this done well, such as “Dark Souls” and “The Witcher III”, there are far too many bad examples to quantify. The question in the title stands at this point.

In terms of personal preference, I greatly prefer a game that has a definitive, solid ending. I do enjoy games with multiple endings, but only if it’s not to justify a lazy moral choice system. While I had a lot of fun playing “Saint’s Row 2”, once the story ended and the sandbox was all that greeted me, I’ll confess I gave it less than an hour before I was done. I can only be engaged in a title for story, and the moment that story is over, so is my engagement. This is why online multiplayer never really appealed to me in most games, and the rash of games that only featured online multiplayer early in the previous console generation’s lifespan passed me by completely, and titles that focused on multiplayer with only a token story have never grabbed me, sorry “Halo” fans. Because of this, the first wave of DLC, in the form of map packs, and other content meant to enhance online play completely passed me by. When story content DLC was a fresh, new idea to extend and enhance the play experience of single player games, I was cautiously optimistic.I liked the idea of a smaller expansion pack, but often this was little more than glorified sidequests. Once things like season passes started, I was cooled right off from this new, exciting way to have more content. All this said, I also recognize that I am a part of a smaller subset in the larger game-buying public. “Halo” was a smash hit, and dozens of games like this have achieved popularity on a scale that was unheard of when I was younger. The simple fact is that video games are rapidly becoming a part of the mass media, with nearly everyone in the western world either playing them frequently, or having a friend or family member who does. Obviously, there is something that is causing a huge surge in popularity in gaming, and while it is tempting to point to these elements as the cause, we must always remember that correlation does not mean causation. Many reasons are likely at play here, and too often a game’s “popularity” is judged from how much money it has made, which is a terrible metric to base popularity on. While sales figures will absolutely tell you how many people bought a title, they don’t speak to anything else. 

Is it ok for a game to just end? The question in the title refuses to be answered simply. It is ok for a game to just end, if the experience the developer intends to deliver is made for it, however, a huge portion of the audience also prefers games with extended, or even perpetual content. “Dark Souls”, one of my personal favorite games ever made, features a New Game+ mode with ramping difficulty and challenge, keeping me in Lordran for ages, always discovering something new every playthrough. The long and short of it is let developers work on projects they are passionate about, and don’t limit the options for the gaming public.

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The return.

This will be a rare update from a personal perspective, rather than a professional one. My job has been demanding all of my time and energy as of late, and I really haven’t had the energy left after work to think up, research, and produce any new quality content. That being said, this is what I would like to work toward making my actual career, so after some thinking and planning, I have decided to do an event. It is as much to provide a large amount of new content as it is to prove to myself that this can be done. Therefore, starting tonight, I am committing to posting 60 articles in 60 days. This is a minimum number, there will be at least one new article per day here. We have a lot of topics to cover in this time. After this is complete, I will be seeking writing contracts with as many outlets as I can. On an unrelated note, I will also be working to cut down heavily on spam comments. I’m trying to avoid having to moderate comments, as that leads to an air of distrust, as well as hurting the very discussions about video games and the industry around them I am trying to foster. I’ll be back tonight with an article. 

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Engagement Part 2 – What makes a game have mass appeal?

Now that we’ve talked about how engagement is what keeps us playing a game, how does this impact the rest of the industry? One thing we can fruitfully think of with this understanding of the quirks of gaming is a common complaint in big budget games: homogenization. Before talking about this topic, we’re going to need to talk about shallow engagement and deep engagement.

Deep engagement is why gaming enthusiasts exist. That feeling where you are so personally invested in the character’s struggles and goals that you and they feel like the same person. You want to save the world, not because the game told you to, but because the game convinced you to. We enthusiasts seek this out, and lament as we find these experiences very rare in the current big budget game market. Why are these experiences so rare, though? The simple fact is that these deeply engaging experiences are difficult to create, and not only require a team working together to carefully build something great, but also require the correct player. In video games, the player is a vital part of the equation. The player, with their unique understanding, biases, and viewpoints, craft their own experience using the framework created by the developer. Sometimes, like in the case of the first “Portal” game, this can happen almost completely by accident. To contrast with this, shallow engagement is working on keeping the player just engaged enough with the game to finish it. Games with this focus tend to have token stories, repetitive, Skinner Box gameplay, and often focus on multiplayer to hide these issues. Because the engagement in this type of game is so shallow, the requirements for the type of player to engage in it become far looser. This leads to a broadly appealing, high selling game that is forgotten the instant something new comes out. Does this seem familiar in any way to what we see in this industry?

Since it left World War II, I have played games from the Call of Duty franchise only a handful of times. I have always had the same experience, jacking up the difficulty and following the orders.  I get through without much trouble, but an hour later, I can’t remember even basic details of the plot, why I was doing what I was doing, or context. That is the reason I really don’t have any interest in these titles. They’re popcorn, broadly, cynically appealing to the widest possible audience to justify their bloated budgets. They have been compared to Michael Bay films, and frankly, I’d agree. Watching a Michael Bay film critically is horrendous, but if you sit back and roll with all the insanity, you’ll be mildly amused for two completely forgettable hours. In this case, the campaign lasts a bit longer, but is just as insubstantial. To be fair, there is an attempt at deeper engagement in the multiplayer, hoping that cramming enough mediocre experiences together will lead to something better. It is arguably what the point of these games are, but I’d argue that the signs are there in the multiplayer just as much. Did you ever wonder about the leveling systems and RPG elements? Typical treadmill gameplay. An increasingly meagre drip feed of upgrades? Skinner’s theories at work. It’s shallow engagement all the way to the core. Admittedly, there are some hardcore players, who would seem to have found some form of deep engagement with the games, but these are the exceptions, rather than the rule. 

This is not to say that there have not been titles in the industry that had both mass market success and deep engagement. “Bioshock” is a title that springs to mind, as well as “Dark Souls”, but it is inarguable that these experiences have become far more rare over time. Part of the problem is that games are spending more and more money over time chasing photo-realism. and as such have to broaden their appeal as much as possible in order to recoup their development costs, but this is by no means the only problem. Attitudes in the industry that have existed from the beginning have all coalesced into a huge, rotting core that would take a lifetime to disentangle fully and propose meaningful solutions. This is a task that needs to be done, and part of that is down to us, the consumer.

I greatly prefer a more deeply engaging experience, even if it’s shorter, or harder to get in to. I can list off all the characters in Undertale, for example, and their interactions and motivations without looking it up. I can do this because I was deeply engaged in the story and the world of the game, and a playthrough only takes about three hours. I understand why these experiences are so rare, but one can only hope they become much less so in the near future. As more of the big companies slowly turn back toward more targeted experiences, and with the Indie market, we can only hope that in the near future, we will start to see more games developed by people passionate about their art. We can keep supporting good and unique indie titles, and voting through where we spend our money as consumers. 

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Patreon

I launched this site on May 9th, and started adding content immediately, because quality content has to be the backbone of this endeavor. Over time, I have been working on a way to make this website profitable, so I can do this full time. That is the eventual goal of this site, to be supported by readers. Currently, my audience is very small, but I am working to grow it. I will be implementing ads on the site in the very near future, but that is not even remotely the avenue I want. I thought about when to announce a Patreon page, and decided to do it now, when the site is small. This way, my intentions for this site to become a career are clear from the outset. I look forward to this leading to ad free content. 

Patreon Link: https://www.patreon.com/sisypheangaming

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What is Fun?

This article comes in response to the two most recent installments of Reboot on the gamespot Youtube channel, specifically Episodes 6 and 6.5, talking about “fun” as we traditionally describe it, can be optional in games we truly enjoy. The videos are linked here: Video Games Don’t Need to Be Fun – Reboot Episode 6 and Do You Play Video Games That Aren’t “Fun”? – Reboot Episode 6.5, and I strongly suggest you watch them if you haven’t already. The thrust of episode six was that video games are particularly adept at bringing about an emotional response other than what is classically defined as “fun”, and that, as a result, the idea of “fun” has been made optional to many titles, such as horror and games with non-standard gameplay. Much of the commentary on this episode focused on deriding this concept, but the simple fact is that “fun” is often just what we assign as the answer to the question to “Why do you like this video game?”. The problem is that as a result, fun is a term which can, and often does, have radically different definitions from person to person. This makes it worthless for any practical discussion, but we can talk about something with a good definition that is usually what people mean when they call a game “fun”: they’re talking about engagement. I wouldn’t call my experience learning to play “Star Tropics” “fun”, but it was so engaging to me as a child, figuring out the mazes and fighting off the baddies that I did gain a huge amount of enjoyment from my experience with it nonetheless.

Engagement is all about how invested you are in a game. It is one of, if not the, single most important pillars about which this entire medium is built. Why are you going through all this trouble to fight this monster? Not the character, you, the player. Why do you get to the bottom of a mystery in an adventure game? Why hone a very specific skill with no practical application in day to day life? The answer to all of these is that the game has communicated to you that these are important, and has reinforced this through gameplay. That is a very brief and topical overview of engagement as a concept in gaming. The reason gamers tend to be more passionate than other fandoms or hobbies is this feeling that has been fostered by countless games over a lifetime of personal investment in the games themselves, watching characters grow and develop, watching the medium as a whole do the same, every year offering new experiences unheard of ever before. Some people love some of these unique experiments, while others can’t stand them (we’re going to completely leave aside for now how these groups interact with each other and the internet at large). I’m not talking about the games that are obviously trash, from developers interested only in shovelware to turn a quick and dirty buck.  What we are talking about are things like the rise of the “Walking Simulator”, the rebirth of long dead genres by new developers with vision and passion, and the fact that many of these games are so polarizing because they only even attempt to engage a small audience, and a lack of engagement with any title is a death sentence for it in the eyes of that gamer. Personally, even within Walking Simulators, I found many of the highly praised offerings like “Dear Esther” to be so boring I couldn’t even manage more than a few minutes playing, while “The Stanley Parable” sucked days out of my life with its narrative delivery. 

Undertale Spoilers here

It’s a simple and undeniable fact that each and every person is motivated by something different. Some of us love horror games, others puzzle games, and some like to sample everything there is to offer, and I’m no different. While I like to try new types of gaming when I can (hopefully much more in the future), I’m partial to games with dark humor, intricate execution challenges, a central focus on a complex story, and gameplay that facilitates an enhanced experience of the world by removing any gimmicks and extraneous tasks to perform basic tasks. Horror, fantasy, and sci-fi story elements speak to me far more than others, but I’m open to a surprise. To me, these things are what engage me, what fall under my definition of “fun”, but they are a small sample of a vast list, like everyone else. Some of the games described in these videos are beloved by many, and to them, “Papers Please” is an engaging experience, though I found it to be interminably dull. So, is it true that video games don’t need to be fun? Yes, because they never really were as a whole. Is it true that video games don’t need to be engaging, though? Absolutely not. 

 

A final note, there was more I wanted to put into this article that just wouldn’t fit (trying to keep these between 750- and 1000 words). Stay tuned for that article (probably tomorrow). A new Site Business post will be up in a few hours, while I mull it over some more.  

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Some things I noticed about Bethesda’s recently delayed new IP.

On May 9th, Gamespot published an article about BioWare’s highly anticipated new IP and it’s recently announced delay. The full article can be found here: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/mass-effect-dragon-age-devs-new-ip-delayed/1100-6449915/?ftag=GSS-05-10aaa0b. I read the article, and noted some very telling commentary. The phrase “Live Service” cropped up several times, both as what the game is built around, and one of the causes for the delay. The phrase intrigued me, and I went digging. The answer finally came from Gamespot again, in the article found here: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/star-wars-battlefront-2-features-three-times-as-mu/1100-6449912/ . I am going to quote them directly here, taken from the bottom paragraph, talking about the company’s sales figured: “… and live services, which comprise DLC, subscriptions, and other categories (up 31%)”. Let’s dive right in, there’s quite a bit to talk about here.

“Other Categories” is very ambiguous, but likely includes microtransactions. However, I found my own cautious optimism about this shadowy new IP draining away as I read the article about the delay. The fact that nearly nothing about the story or gameplay of this new IP has been revealed, apart from a Sci-Fi setting, yet it has been revealed that the game is being built from the ground up to support EA’s additional attempts to grab more cash. Further, the game has been in development since 2012, during the peak of certain anti-consumer practices like the Online Pass, and building and hyping a new IP as little more than a new vector for pushing these ideas reeks of EA under Mr. Riccitello’s infamous tenure. For those of you who may have forgotten, this was the era when John Riccitello, then CEO of EA, talked openly about charging players for bullets in online FPS matches.Now, I realize that that was five years ago, but if you believe that attitudes from that era weren’t engrained in this game from birth, you need to open your eyes.

The worst part of all of this is the obfuscation that surrounds it. It takes some digging to learn what the company even means when it talks about these “Live Services” even are. While looking to the gaming news sites is all that needs to be done, Googling “EA Live Services” pretty much only yields links about EA Access. EA is not a stupid company, and they know that even that small barrier will hide their intentions from the majority of their customers. I do not pretend to have read all of the reports about this, but I know that the Gamespot article I’m referencing today let the mention of live services pass without comment, either to EA, or to explain to the reader what these services are. These are things that the consumer needs to know, and to be informed of, and it is the job of any news outlet, regardless of the focus, to inform their readers or viewers. Taking a stance is one thing, but reporting all of the facts should be a given. Gamespot failed to do that, and even if they amend the article, it speaks to their priorities that that they withheld this information. I really do hope that they correct this, as they are still one of the more influential gaming news sites, and a better informed consumer base will craft a better industry. 

In the interest of presenting everything, the live services may not be the sole reason for the delay. With “Mass Effect: Andromeda”‘s flop, the company has delayed everything. EA may be getting ready to kill off BioWare, which even I doubt, or BioWare may be looking to take a break from development to figure out what went wrong with the title. I think we will be seeing this IP down the road, and I will definitely talk about it when it is actually announced. I want to be wrong, and I want there to be a good new IP in an industry that is far too obsessed with safe sequels and reboots. Something that takes some risks, introduces new gameplay, and has the potential to completely revitalize a brand. At this point, however, I see the future articles about it comparing it to “Evolve”, another game that was proudly announced to be built from the ground up to support DLC. 2K and Turtle Rock’s shooter received such a backlash that even the attempted Free to Play reboot was poisoned by it. If that happens to BioWare’s new IP, at that point I would not doubt that EA would close the studio, depriving gamers of the unique experiences that the company provides, a net loss. Here’s hoping EA and Bioware think about this, and avoid what could be a huge disaster.

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My stance on microtransactions.

I mentioned when talking about my biases that I am very much against the concept of microtransactions, not only in $60 AAA titles, but in nearly all cases. The one case where I find them acceptable is in a fully featured free to play title, but in no other case do I find them even remotely acceptable. Not in mobile titles, and not in any game already asking for money. The simple fact is that they are designed explicitly to remove the limit on how much money a game can make, tossing open the gates so your money can flow unimpeded into their company accounts.

How much does a mobile game cost? Several years ago, this was a simple question to answer: a couple of bucks. On IOS and Android, the answer was largely the same. Over time, however, small purchasable items started cropping up in more and more games, and it was seen as a largely positive step, allowing studios to make some more cash for quality products. Before very long, however, mobile games started to appear which were designed entirely around microtransactions, and games that came before were hastily redesigned to include them. Mobile gaming became centered around long wait times and the now-familiar two-currency systems to falsify a sense of value, forcing players to either wait to progress, or buy the ability to play the game. The most egregious example to come out of this was Electronic Arts’ infamous “Dungeon Keeper Mobile”, a game which forced free players to dig for literally days to be able to build their dungeons, which is the central conceit of the game. And with the mention of the boogeyman of the games industry, it should go without saying that the big AAA companies had sat up and taken notice of the mind-boggling sums of money that these microtransactions were raking in. Panels at GDC and I imagine other similar conventions were held on how best to exploit the consumer with this new monetization model. Dead Space 3, also from EA, had already come out, with its upgrade system having been completely rebalanced for microtransactions. The genie was out of the bottle, and nearly every major publisher rushed to take advantage of this new idea, and that leads us to where we are now.

Now that we’ve gotten through a bit of the history, my stance on microtransactions should be somewhat clear. This is not to say that I am against all forms of additional monetization. A monthly fee for an MMO is completely understandable and justifiable. Everyone pays their fee, nobody gets an advantage they didn’t work for in game, and it’s the same fee every month. Ads for free games, as long as they’re unobtrusive and it doesn’t harm the experience of playing the game are acceptable. DLC, when it comes to large content or even expansion packs, is fine, though there has been some real anti-consumer practices with that (season pass for a game that may or may not even get worthwhile DLC, anyone?).

In conclusion, I hope my stance on this popular scheme has been made clear. You may feel differently, and this is definitely a topic I will return to in the future. At the end of the day, though, I would rather just buy a game for an agreed upon price, known in advance, rather than opening a tab.

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Welcome

Welcome to Sisyphean Gaming, and our inaugural post. Over the coming days, expect at least one article, as well as my first review from this new, fresh start. Please look around, the other pages have a lot of information. I look forward to this endeavor. 

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