13 December 2013

The Folly of The Gaming Ceasefire

This post is a guest article from Tali and can be read in its original form here. This year's gaming ceasefire take place on Saturday, December 21st.    
For decades, for as long as this little gamer can remember (I’m 28 for reference), we have had racing games, we’ve had puzzle games, we’ve had shooters as well.
So why, in the name of the wee fucking man is this still a bloody issue. Shootings at school, yes they are a tragedy, one that could in most cases probably be avoided. Gun controls / being mature enough to not go on murderous rampages. American teens; grow the fuck up.
For the last 20 years ever so often I hear how videogames make people violent. This is bull. I was bullied and harassed throughout my time in high school. I was suspended twice for self defence (I was bullied, teachers refused to do anything, I lashed out when I was punched in ribs.) Do you know how many times I said “Tali, go kill them.” 
Never! I am not the most well adjusted person on the planet. I am absolutely miserable some days. I was pretty much a social outcast between 6-18 years old. I must have spent most of my weekends playing Doom, Quake, Unreal, along with other games. I am amongst the most vocal to say, videogames kept me sane.
My only gripe, my one problem with this Gamer Ceasefire is… guilt by association, we’ve spent years denying its the root cause. Now some folk are saying “In solidarity and remembrance of the dead we’ll stop firing at computer generated images for 24 hours” REALLY? So what you are implying is “Well, we could kinda be responsible for it.”
I have quickly browsed Wikipedia for these numbers on school shootings.
USA has had 254 between 1900 to through to last week. 134 of which were between 1900-1980. 120 since 1980 and today.
In the same time period Canada’s had 14. China [that nation of stereotypically crazy gamers? Two, out of 10 in Asia, which by the way, included the Ma’alot massacre in Israel, which lasted two days and was a recognised terrorist action]
Japan, had zero. Yes, the home of two of the biggest gaming companies in the last 30 years has had NO school shootings whatsoever.
Mexico has had two, listed and one of those was a drive-by which killed and wounded a few adults.
Part of me looks at these statistics and has to ask, is this a legality issue regarding firearms, or a national mindset that violence is an appropriate response. Like I said, I know what its like to be bullied, so please. 
America take a long hard freaking look at yourself, as a culture, as a society and fix your damned law books to take into account the Second Amendment was from a different bloody era, when you feared the redcoats could sneak onto your lands in the dead of night rather than blame new and modern technology. Either that or… sue the British government for letting all our citizens take their peculiar brands of crazy with them. I’d love to see that one, really. I would.
PS. I am Scottish, and we’ve had a couple of shootings in schools, no where near as many as you and I don’t think anyone at the time uttered lines like “Well, if the teacher was allowed to carry a gun to work, it would have been avoided.” That shit is victim blaming.
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14 July 2013

Moving On

I've enjoyed working on this blog and I hope you've enjoyed reading it. It's been less than a year since The Videogame Dynamic was founded but things have changed since then and it's time to move on.

This was never going to be the most popular blog in the world which makes every reader all the more important and I hope at least some of you will continue forward with me. 

The blog will remain online and from time to time posts may be added, principally of a personal nature - so long as it has to do with gaming of course. I've tried to post at least once a week but now my articles have found new homes. 

As a regular contributor to Koobismo, a news writer for Gameranx and as editor of a new venture. 

My good friend Yesika Reyes, you may have read some of her articles on Unreality or Commander Bedlam, and I are establishing a new game culture hub which we've named Gamemoir. A site with regular posts dedicated to range of topics surrounding game culture with an article from me, and each of the site's contributors, each week.

Speaking of which, we're hiring. If you're passionate about gaming and think you can write a feature once per week, we'd be happy to have you. This is a new site and as with most such enterprises, we regrettably can't pay you. We won't be making money either and the upkeep of the website will come directly from our wallets. 

The hope is that should we prove successful, this will change. We can't guarantee that but we're certainly going to try when we launch this August.

If you're interested please contact stephen.daly@outlook.com with a trial article of no fewer than 500 words. Should you have any other questions feel free to comment below, contact me by email or Tweet me @StephenDaly_

Once again I'd like to thank you for reading even if this is only your first and final time to visit The Videogame Dynamic.


09 July 2013

One Difference in the Next Generation of Consoles

When the original PlayStation launched in 1995 Sony included a CD drive which, along with the $299 price point, was enough to catapult the company to the top of the console ladder as well as revolutionise the way in which games were played.

In 2000, when the PlayStation 2 was released, it included a DVD player which again gave scope for developers to push what could be done as well as helping to popularise the DVD format. While DVD would almost certainly have replaced video tapes eventually it did so much sooner than it might have without the aid of Sony's console.

Once again in 2006 Sony brought a new format to their system: Blu-ray. Granted, Blu-ray has never dominated in the same way DVDs did - in part because the PlayStation 3 did not dominate the market in the manner its predecessors did and equally in part due to the rise of digital as a medium. Yet it nonetheless marked yet another format innovation.

PlayStation 4 is notably different than its forebears not because of its added new features but because it hasn't changed one of the principal features of the PS3; namely, the Blu-ray drive. To a degree, it's a testimony to the foresight of Sony's engineers and their counterparts in the other firms which constitute the Blu-ray alliance that not only did they create a platform which was able to defeat HD-DVDs as a medium but Microsoft - which backed HD-DVD for Xbox 360 - would go on to include a Blu-ray drive in the Xbox One.

In effect, this means that a tiny percentage of the Xbox One's $499 price tag is making its way to the Blu-ray group and ultimately to Sony.

If nothing else can be said for the PS3 at the very least it has always been an excellent Blu-ray player and remains one of the best on the market even today. Whether the PS4 can match that legacy remains to be seen and will likely not be quite as significant a proposition given the proliferation of game-downloads and streaming in the near future.

To say the future is entirely digital is too general. You can still buy DVDs, and for that matter CDs and even vinyls, despite the widespread availability of digital options. The same will likely hold true of physical games for some, perhaps even many, years to come.

This is an unusual generation. Not only have we seen perhaps the biggest U-turn in this industry's 40 year history with Microsoft's policy reversals and the departure of Don Mattrick to Zynga mere months before the launch of the Xbox One but it's also the first time any PlayStation platform has ever used the same primary format as it predecessor.

PlayStation, PS2, PS3 as well as PSP and Vita have all had their own unique driver, but not PS4.

In the end, this will not mean anything at all yet in the context of gaming history and Sony's specifically, it's an interesting footnote at the start of the next generation.