Save for a number of snarky comments on Twitter, and last week's "Are you a true games journalist?", I've tried to directly stay out of the whole MCV and Square Enix debacle. It pains me that a lot of readers now just take it for granted that shoddy journalism is how the games journalism space works, and discount those of us trying to make an honest living out of it as a result, but there's not really a lot else I can add to the discussion that hasn't already been said.
Growing up I was always fascinated by horror. I read teen fiction horror books like Goosebumps or the god-awful (but always entertaining) Point Horror series. I watched Horror movies which were most certainly not suitable for my age bracket (Not a fault of my parents but the employees of the local video rental shop — who had no moral objection allowing an 8 year old to rent “Nightmare on Elm Street”). I hung out in haunted houses, wrote short stories about all kinds of beasties. Hell, I even messed around with Ouija boards and performed séances, just to see what would happen. Why bother telling you all this?
I want to convey to you, that I love horror. I always have and always will. In all its mediums, horror plays on my (mostly) unconscious desire to continuously be unnerved. Some people play video-games to relax, soak in a story or maybe to just blissfully slaughter hordes of oncoming mutants/zombies/space-nazi’s or underprivileged Middle Eastern youths. I am happiest playing games when crouching three or four feet from the TV, in the pitch dark… my eyes wide in anticipation and the controller slippery in my hand from sweat. I want to be terrified… No. It’s more than that.
I crave the feeling of being scared.
So, you would think I’ve been absolutely disgusted by the recent destruction of mainstream Survival Horror. Silent Hill ain’t living up to its legacy and Resident Evil has become the most bombastic, balls to the wall action series this side of Con-Air.
Well, I do find it sad that the franchises listed above have moved substantially away from their roots, but when I recently went back and played Resident Evil 3 and the original Silent Hill on my Vita it all suddenly started to make sense.
Survival Horror wouldn’t work anymore. Well… not in a mainstream sense, anyhow.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for guest features but this one really piqued my interest. Working on Mind of Man has gotten me really interested in the field of Sentiment Analysis and it’s various potential applications. Lisa Gan contacted me with this piece, which I thought was very well written and informative. Enjoy
Innovative Social Media Technology: Sentiment Analysis by Lisa Gan
“Sentiment analysis represents an innovative way to examine emotional trends across Internet content, and is of particular value to social media networks and affiliate marketers. A sentiment analysis involves looking at the kinds of attitudes implicit in different documents and messages, with the intention of judging overall trends and moods from positive to negative. This kind of analysis works around a scale of emotional responses, and looks for repeated phrases and the structure of messages to try to determine the mood of the writer.
Wow! After blood, sweat and more than a few tears the Mind of Man launch trailer is here…
And it’s glorious!!!
I should have some info about our time at Rezzed and Develop up soon, but needless to say it was “Ammaaaazzzing” – heh, heh… In-Joke More on that in my next post.
Most of the time, when games use any kind of personality evaluations, it feels as though you’re playing a round of 20 Questions. It’s a mere quiz, and it’s not very subtle. Rarely, if the context is fantastic, it might feel a bit more believable. But most of the time, the data the computer gains from the player is patchy, at best.
Continued from previous article:
It was over. I knew it and she knew it. She wanted to try and work things out but I just couldn’t get over Code Veronica; I was hurt… and betrayed. I wanted out and finally she let me go. I told her I’d remember the good times, that she’d always be special and we’d stay friends… but we both knew it wouldn’t happen. I moved on and started having new experiences.
A couple of years went by without a word, then one day my cousin came to me all excited and asked if I’d seen her lately. I told him I hadn’t so he showed me some pics. She’d had a complete make-over and she looked real good. I knew I had to see her.
When we met again i did so with some friends, I didn’t want to be alone incase there were any awkward feelings. She looked amazing… I was hooked again. Later I got her alone and like any man who knows he’s make a mistake, I dropped to my knees tears flowing, tugging at her dress begging her to take me back. She agreed but I’m not sure if it was out of love… or to stop me slobbering on her shoe.
PJ Quinn is an awesome individual… who just so happens, not by choice on his part, to be my cousin. PJ and I share many similar tastes but none so strong as mutual love and passion for the Resident Evil video game franchise. On Facebook I noticed an amazing little post by PJ which summed up my feelings (more or less) on the first four titles in the series. I asked for permission to repost here and Mr. Quinn was more than kind enough to oblige. The first ever “Dev in the Red Hat” guest post is below:
“My relationship with the Resident Evil games has always been a pretty good one. We first met back in ’98, even though she’d been around a while longer, it was love at first sight. Sure she wasn’t the best looking and our conversations were cheesey, filled with talk of Jill sandwiches, masters of unlocking and all the weak people existing to be eaten, but, we whiled away the days in each others company; loving every moment of it. After some time she decided we needed a bigger place… something new.”
The age old idiom “If its not broke, don’t fix it” is known to be especially true of puzzle games. I mean feel free to add things, move stuff around a bit – hell, even throw in some new power ups… but if the core game-play is solid then leave it the hell alone! Lumines: Electronic Symphony for the PS Vita is a great example of this; elevation without innovation. It doesn’t add a slew of new design or features, but what it does add, streamlines an already great experience.
Lumines is a musical puzzle game, where groups of coloured blocks drop into the game area from the top of the screen in grids of 4(2×2 to be precise). The player must join four or more bricks of the same colour before the end of any given “turn”. On each “turn”, the rhythm bar (which is kind of like a metronome) passes from left to right and destroys any groupings of four or more, giving the player a score based on how many blocks were joined during that “turn”. It’s a simple concept but its the mixture of visual and aural fidelity, alongside the solid mechanics that have made Lumines such a runaway success.
I missed out on Lumines in it’s debut appearance, despite buying my PSP day one, I more than likely picked up some muck like “Dynasty Warriors 2 PSP” . My assumption now is that I saw it on the shelf and presumed it would be a by the numbers Tetris clone, full of repetitive Techno music. Its worth noting at this point in the review that I am not a huge fan of Electronic music; for some devotees of Lumines, this game without the music is like Gran Turismo without cars! When I finally played the game (this was the Xbox Live Arcade Version) I was very impressed with the game design and remember convincing one of my flat mates to buy the game, just so I could play it.
Flash forward to Lumines: Electronic Symphony.
In stupendously exciting news, the folks over at 2PaperDolls have brought me onto their development team as a community manager/game designer. This makes me wonder how much I’m going to get done on my own personal developments, but the project we’re working on could change the very nature of how games interact with players; so for now, I’m happy to put some stuff on the back burner and focus on doing everything I can at 2PaperDolls. The release is below: